Why Paris holds a special place in Kenya 7s co-captain Vincent Onyala's heart ahead of Olympics

Why Paris holds a special place in Kenya 7s co-captain Vincent Onyala's heart ahead of Olympics

Mark Kinyanjui 07:23 - 29.04.2024

Onyala has revealed why the 2024 Olympics in Paris will be very special for him.

Kenya 7s captain Vincent Onyala has revealed the reason the upcoming Olympic games set to take place in Paris, France this August will be special for him.

At just 27, Onyala is one of the most experienced players in a side filled with talented but rookie youngsters, having been part of the team for six years ever since making his debut back in 2018.

Onyala experienced his first tour and tournament at the 2018 Toulouse tournament, and has gone on to play alot for the side, including representing them at the Tokyo Olympic games back in 2021.

He also represented the side at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in 2022, and was lucky enough to be one of the few players in the current squad that managed to play with some of the golden generation of players including Collins Injera.

The side has been training at the Kasarani Annex as they prepare for the third Challenger series tour which will take place in Poland in May, with the top two teams sealing a place at the Madrid relegation and promotion playoff tournament later that month.

“Paris is special,” Onyala told Olympics Kenya.

“Joining as a rookie, we fought our first relegation (survival) tournament in Paris and it is lucky we are going back there not to fight back to the series now but to actually take part in an Olympic games tournament and hopefully see ourselves at the podium.”

Expressing his apprehensions about facing unfamiliar opponents, Onyala acknowledged the challenges posed by teams they have not encountered since their relegation from the series in 2023.

 "The dynamics of the game are changing," he noted, emphasizing the importance of adapting quickly to new competition.

Despite the uncertainties, Onyala remains optimistic about Kenya's prospects, highlighting the team's underdog status as a potential advantage. 

"We have a team that has nothing to lose, which is a strength in disguise," he explained. With many players eager to showcase their talents on the international stage, Onyala believes Kenya could surprise their opponents and emerge as dark horses in the race for a podium finish.

As the team continues preparations at the Kasarani Annex and gears up for the third Challenger series tour in Poland, Onyala's leadership and experience will be crucial in guiding the squad towards their Olympic dreams.

“We have a team that has nothing to lose per say  which is a strength in disguise. I am very hopeful because most of them really want to showcase their qualities because no one has seen them outside.