Three Kenyan Sport Stars Away From Athletics

Three Kenyan Sport Stars Away From Athletics

Kenya has a rich sporting heritage. Kenyan athletes, mainly middle and long-distance runners, are among the best in the world. Ask any non-Kenyan to name a sport associated with Kenya, and almost all will mention running or track and field. However, some Kenyan sports stars buck that trend and make a name for themselves in games and sports not considered typically Kenyan. Here are just three of those people.

Rees Odhiambo - American Football

Rees Odhiambo was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 1992, but he and his family moved to Texas, United States, when Odhiambo was only seven years old, shortly after his father’s death. Ten years later, Odhiambo’s mother passed away, and he went to live with an uncle. Odhiambo attended the Legacy High School in Mansfield, Dallas, where his P.E. teacher asked him to try playing American Football as Odhiambo was athletic in addition to being tall and strong.

Odhiambo stood at 6ft 4in tall and weighed almost 300 lb by the time he reached college age. He received a scholarship with Boise State Broncos, where he played as an offensive guard and gained a reputation as a tough-tacking guard. His performances for the Broncos saw the Seattle Seahawks, one of the popular NFL teams with people looking to learn how to bet on football online profitably, draft Odhiambo in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

He signed a four-year $2.9 million deal with a $645,416 bonus. However, after playing 16 games for the Seahawks, Odhiambo severely injured both hands, breaking and dislocating several fingers and requiring surgery. Sadly, Odhiambo’s injuries never recovered to a level that allowed him to continue playing professional football. He has been without a team since 2018, so it looks like his NFL career is over.

Victor Wanyama - Soccer

Aside from Moses Kiptanui, Ezekiel Kemboi, and Vivian Cheruiyot, Victor Wanyama is arguably the most recognizable Kenyan sportsperson. Born in Nairobi in June 1991, Wanyama loved soccer from an early age and played for the Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards before heading to Sweden to play for Helsingborg’s youth team.

Wanyama signed his first professional contract in 2008 with the Belgian team Beerschot AC. Here, he gained a reputation for being a tough-tackling midfielder, and several European clubs were tracking his progress. Scottish giants Celtic paid £900,000 for Wanyama in July 2011, and he became an instant hit with the team’s fans. A year later, Wanyama became the first-ever Kenyan to score in the UEFA Champions League, opening the scoring in Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona.

In 2013, Wanyama became the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League when Southampton paid Celtic £12.5 million for his services. He transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in 2016 for £11 million, where he stayed for four years before heading to CF Montreal in the MLS, where he still plays today.

Wanyama has played 64 times for the Kenyan national team since making his debut, aged only 15.

Daniel Adongo - Rugby and American Football

Daniel Adongo is one of the rare sportsmen that turned their skills to not one but two professional sports. Rugby union was Adogno’s first true love, playing for the Kenya Harlequins junior team. South African scouts noted Adogno’s prowess, and he joined the Sharks in South Africa in 2007. Adogno stayed with the Sharks for four years before heading to the Blue Bells, Counties Manuka, Souther Kings, and Eastern Province Kings. His Eastern province Kings career was cut short by a torn bicep injury.

Bizarrely, the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts offered Adogno a contract despite him never playing American Football before. He only managed to play five games in two years because his old bicep injury flared up again, leaving him to call time on his professional sports career at only 26 years old.

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