Unearthing Kenya’s finest rugby specimen Ambaka


Willy Ambaka races to score Kenya's third try against New Zealand at USA 7s on ...
(FILE)Willy Ambaka races to score Kenya's third try against New Zealand at USA 7s on Saturday, March 5, 2016. PHOTO/World Rugby

In Summary

  • The indefatigable Willy Ambaka Ndayara who plies his trade with New Zealand’s Manawatu Turbos is likely to be the centre of attention in the sixth round of HSBC World Rugby Seven Series.
  • Ambaka gave an exceptional performance in the last outing in Las Vegas.
  • And as his star rose owing to his outstanding performances so did the number of suitors increase.

The indefatigable Willy Ambaka Ndayara who plies his trade with New Zealand’s Manawatu Turbos is likely to be the centre of attention in the sixth round of HSBC World Rugby Seven Series in Canada after giving an exceptional display in the last outing in Las Vegas.

Ambaka’s double monster shunt on two Australian players in the dying minutes forced the game to go to an extra time which they narrowly lost 26-21.

The former Harlequins flyer was the best Kenyan player in the last outing scoring 20 points, adding four tries in his name.

The 27-year-old who weighs 103 kilograms with a height of 1.89 meters has played 27 matches this year scoring 11 tries, adding to 55 points overall.

His star act in Las Vegas has led to a chorus of praise from rugby enthusiasts and as Shujaa aims to rumble in Vancouver, he will not only be an important cog but also instrumental to the game plan of coach Innocent Simiyu.

But how did he rise to such prominence? The New Zeland based star made his debut in the Kenyan team in 2011 during the Hong Kong’s Sevens Tournament after his name was recommended to the then head coach Benjamin Ayimba by Harlequins’ strength and conditioning coach Geoffrey Kimani.

He rose to a pro in the 2012-2013 season in the HSBC World Series after he was named in the series dream team based on his performance.

And as his star rose owing to his outstanding performances so did the number of suitors increase.

For instance,  French side Lyon RFC signed him for the 2013-2014 Rugby pro D2 season after he was named a nominee for the IRB Sevens Player of the Year, won by New Zealand’s’ Tim Mikkelson.

Kenya Sevens star Willy Ambaka with Manawatu Turbos Coach Aaron Good when the deal was formalized. (PHOTO/turbosrugby.co.nz)

At Lyon, he proudly donned their jersey making 10 appearances and scoring 30 points.

And as they say, what is innate passes the test of time and so is Ambaka’s talent. In 2014, he was recommended by the former 15’s national head coach Jerome Paarwaters to South African Currie Cup side Western Province for that year’s Currie Cup Premier Division where he played nine matches before he succumbed to a knee injury.

The gigantic ace who has been named in the team which will fly the national flag in Gold Coast, Australia come April in the Commonwealth Games has also participated in international duty for his beloved motherland in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

And as Shujaa plans to kick off their campaign in the Vancouver Sevens against France at 9.15 pm (EAT) on Saturday evening, there is no gainsaying that the broad-shouldered, menacing and towering soul will be integral to Kenya’s dream. With focus, it can only get better for Willy.

Kenyan sevens star Willy Ambaka in his first rugby 15s game in New Zealand on June Saturday 4 th, 2017.

Fact- File

Name: Willy Ambaka Ndayara

Age: 27

Current Club: Manawatu Turbos(New Zealand)

National team: Kenya(Shujaa)

Playing Position: Flyer

 

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