Collins Injera, Kenyan Rugby’s Clinical Finisher

Nairobi Underground Collins Injera, Kenyan Rugby's Clinical Finisher

The latest edition of the Glo-sponsored African Voices on Cable News Network (CNN) will feature the star who rose from Vihiga Boys   High School before being drafted to Mwamba RFC, Collins Injera.
Collins Injera, born October 18, 1986, is a Kenyan rugby player. He holds the second place for number of tries scored on the World Rugby Sevens Series with 271. He is known for his achievements with Kenyan National Rugby Sevens Team.
Collins Injera, born October 18, 1986, is a Kenyan rugby player. He holds the second place for number of tries scored on the World Rugby Sevens Series with 271. He is known for his achievements with Kenyan National Rugby Sevens Team. Being a rugby player was not always what Injera aspired to be when he was younger, he says: “I wanted to be a doctor like any other kid who was growing up because in our family there’s a history of people falling in the medical line… But just growing up and when I started playing the game, I really felt like this is something that I want to do in the coming years and for me, I’m very fortunate that it’s happened. I’ve managed to play the game that I love, it’s taken me places and I’ve managed also to make a career out of it and I’m just thankful for it.”

In 2010, Injera was awarded the presidential Order of Golden Warriors (OGW) alongside his brother Humphrey Kayange for their performance in the 2008–09 IRB Sevens World Series. He was also named Player of the final match in 2016 Singapore Sevens, after helping Kenya to win their first tournament in the World Seven Series.

Injera credits his older brother with inspiring and guiding him into his career as a rugby player: “I remember seeing a few guys across the pitch playing with the rugby ball and I remember that’s the game my brother told me he was playing in high school. So, for me, I just went there, tried out and I got stuck…  When I finished high school, my brother was playing for one of the local clubs. I joined him in the local club, we played together. Then for him, he was playing for the national team… and when I joined the team, my brother was captain of the team. So, for me…see[ing] him around and him being one of the elders in the team, really helped me settle quicker. I knew I had a big brother, I didn’t have so much pressure in terms of performing, I just focused on my game and continued playing the game.”

For Injera, being a recognised athlete holds the potential to inspire a new generation to take up sports, he tells CNN: “I consider myself as a well-known guy who loves playing the sport that I love, so for me, it has always been about the sport. I love playing the game, it’ll always be about inspiring the young guys, I also want to see a young guy who one day will say, I used to look up to you and now I’m here, I’m able to achieve this, I think that brings so much joy into what I do.”

Early morning practice sessions, passion and motivation has allowed Injera to reach his target of being the top try scorer in 2009. He speaks about his enthusiasm and dedication: “For me, every day is a learning day. I never stop learning. So, for me, it’s always been about trying to learn something new and trying to improve myself… When I started being in this sport, that was one of my targets. I said I really want to be the top scorer in the world. When I said that during those years, nobody would believe me. Just working towards achieving that goal, and after achieving it, it felt really great achieving something that I had set my mind to.”

Injera tells CNN how he credits rugby with teaching him good values in and off the pitch: “I think rugby, in terms of discipline-wise, you have to be very disciplined, you have to be very hardworking, but I think the values that rugby has given me has also helped me in my life out of the sport. The values that rugby has really, has installed in me, have really helped me to become the person that I am up to now… Some of the challenges are, definitely, like any other sport, most people get afraid to get injured, just trying to maintain your life because once you’re a sportsman, you have your friends of course, who maybe don’t play rugby, they have the other life, the social life, sometimes it’s quite interesting…you have to sacrifice…”

Collins Injera offers his encouragement to others stating: “I’d say, there are many challenges, but one thing I know is that if you really want to make it in this career in sports, you have to sacrifice a lot. You have to let go of that social life, you have to really stay disciplined in whatever you do, stay focused, set goals, be able to achieve them.”

In this year’s Rugby Sevens World Cup, the Kenyan team was eliminated in the round of 16 by Scotland. However, Injera still sees potential in his team and its future in Africa: “In my Africa, for me, I think it’s for the young guys to be able to realize their dreams. There are so many people who have dreams, but because of certain things, they don’t go for them, they don’t achieve them, so you end up not living your life… so one thing I’d really love to achieve is, if you can find the young guys being able to set up goals and be able to work towards achieving those goals and achieving the dreams, definitely it’ll be something good for Africa… I think I’ll give them one that I received as well, and I think I just share it and it has always helped me to continue bettering myself so for them, I think I’d tell them, it’s never about the opportunity of a lifetime, it’s always about the lifetime of that opportunity.”

Viewers will enjoy African Voices new edition programme on CNN at 9.30 a.m. on Friday and is also repeated at 3.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. on Saturday and at 11.30 a.m and 6.30 p.m. on Sunday. The show will also be aired at 10.30 a.m. on Monday and at 4.30 a.m. on Tuesday.