Shujaa sensation Patrick Odongo reveals why he has been performing excellently despite setbacks in his private life

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RUGBY Shujaa sensation Patrick Odongo reveals why he has been performing excellently despite setbacks in his private life

Mark Kinyanjui 16:27 - 01.03.2024

Odongo lost his mother right before Kenya played in Harare for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers but was still named most valuable player, and recently, his dad was admitted to hospital.

For budding and rising Kenya Sevens Star Patrick Odongo, the desire and determination to do his country proud despite suffering setbacks in his private life is what has driven him into taking his debut season by storm.

The Daystar Falcons speedstar has become a household name overnight in Kenyan rugby circles. He was named most valuable player in Harare as Kenya won the Africa Sevens Cup to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

He went on to have a brilliant Safari Sevens tournament, before wowing people even better with his performance in Dubai in January, where he scored 11 tries to help Kenya get their campaign to get back to the World Series off to a flier.

During that time, he has had to suffer the pain of losing his mother just days before the tournament in Harare and recently, his father was admitted to hospital as he had to undergo immediate corrective heart surgery. 

All these things however serve as fuel for him to do well on the pitch.

“As my coach says, when you step onto those two lines, you have to set your mind straight on the pitch,” the spirited Odongo told Pulse Sports.

“You deal with things outside the pitch separately. When I step onto the pitch, the country is on our shoulders and we have to make the people proud, so once I get onto the pitch, I just focus on the goal.

“It just always finds a way to sort itself out.”

Despite dealing with a jaw injury that ruled him out of the Montevideo trip, Odongo remains fueled by the desire to excel on the field. Rating his season a 9.5 out of 10, he expressed his ambition to reach higher levels of play.

“There are levels I have not achieved yet. There is a way of playing that I want to try and reach, but I am still far from getting there. Once I get there, I will rate it as a 10 out of 10 eason.

“The aim is to win all the remaining challengers. I will not be there against Uruguay unfortunately but in the next one, I am optimistic we are going to win it when I am back.

Unsurprisingly, Odongo has already started drawing comparisons to some of Kenya’s greatest ever players, including Collins Injera. 

Most would succumb to the pressure of people being wax lyrical of them. Odongo has embraced it.

“I never expected something like that. My roommate, Kevin Wekesa, everytime we were there seated, he was the one encouraging me, like ‘You know everyone is praising you, you are the next Collins Injera!’

“It got to me and I had pressure to perform. Kenyan wingers of the past have always performed, so when I get onto the pitch, I set my mind straight and ensure the performance is spot on.

“I just give my best and everything else sorts itself out.”

While Kenya will be hoping he can be back as soon as possible while praying his father will recover in time, Odongo has his eyes set on the price, to become the best rugby player he can be.