He is an example of a self driven and God motivated player, one of a kind you can say. Kenyanstar takes a walk down the life of Simon Mwangi, lead striker of the Kimathi University College hockey team, also known as “The titans”. The team is currently battling for top honors in the National division one league with an ambition of setting foot on the bigger platter: the national league. He talks of his life, his playing career, his dreams and ambitions.
How did you Start Playing Hockey? What motivated you to start?
I was first introduced to hockey in high school by my good friend Moses Muhoro. I always saw the hockey team during school assembly receiving trophies after winning tournaments and I really admired them. I decided to try it out and so went to the try-outs. I performed well and by Form Two I was in the First Team. I never knew that I would become a good hockey player considering that I had a passion for soccer.
When living in Nairobi, I had joined the Kangemi United youth team and was training with them and I was doing pretty well.
I first joined professional hockey when I signed with Nakuru Simba Hockey Club. I only played there for one season then moved to Titans Hockey Club.
What are your achievements so far?
Though my hockey playing career is not yet at the roof top, I have managed to achieve quite a lot. These are some of the feats I can tag to my name:
• Rift valley Provincial Trophy (2003-2005) back at Menengai high school
• Three “Best Player” awards (High School)
• Catholic University of East Africa trophy, 1st Position (KUCT)
• Young Brothers’ ELD Runners Trophy (KUCT, 2 years in a row)
• Bronze Medal, KCA University Wazito Tournament (KUCT)
• Third Position, Kenya Hockey Union National Men League, (KUCT)
• Best Striker, THC Awards (2009/2010 season).
What are your highest and lowest points as a hockey player?
My highest point is when we win a game and when a score goals. My lowest point is when we lose a game, I get injuries and when I miss to score.
What is unique about hockey that you like?
The moves, skills, game plans, dynamics, name it all. I don’t think you can find all that in one game except hockey. Hockey is a game where new skills keep coming up with each generation of players. I love its complexity of calculated dribbles, passes, tackles, tactics and game plan.
What do you think of Kenyan Hockey? Is there room for improvement?
We definitely have skills in Kenya. Hockey in Kenya has grown tremendously, with many youths getting introduced to the game every day. However I do feel that it is not being given the importance it really deserves. We have many untapped and wasted talents out there. For example, the number of hockey players leaving high school is large but there are no structures to tap their talents.
I appreciate what The Kenya Hockey Union is doing with the Leagues but that is not enough. The KHU leagues should be increased and trickled down to the local level leagues. Reason being, many hockey clubs are based in Nairobi, with few in other major towns i.e. Mombasa (4 clubs), Nakuru (1 club), Nyeri (1 club), Kisumu (1 club), and Kakamega (1club). KHU should also lay structures to tap these upcoming talents.
I would also like to urge sponsors to come in and sponsor our hockey clubs. Most of these clubs are either self sponsored or school based clubs sponsored by the schools. Hockey equipment is expensive and it would really help to get some support.
I do however feel that the sports media houses are biased as they focus more on soccer followed by athletics and rugby. I would like to request all media houses to increase their coverage not only in hockey but other sports to support fairness and equality. Not everyone is a fan of soccer. It would really feel nice to see my fellow players and opponents being profiled in televisions, radio, newspapers, and magazines.
There is a lot of room for improvement but this can only be done by team work from KHU, the clubs and the Cooperate world.
What are your dreams and ambitions?
My greatest dream is to be one of the best hockey players in Kenya and to play international hockey. I would like to be a coach and continue with hockey until my time comes. Playing for my dream teams Wazalendo Hockey Club or Green Sharks would also be a great achievement to me.
What drives you?
God; He is my strength, me shield and my source, Team work, passion for the game and determination to become one of the best hockey players.
“Put God First, work hard and wait for the results”
Name: Simon Mwangi
Place of Birth: Nairobi
Primary School: Std 1-5 Loresho Primary School, Std 6-8 Mang’u Primary School (Menengai West)
High School: Menengai High School (Class of 20)
Varsity: Kimathi University College of Technology (KUCT)
Club/Team: Kimathi Titans Hockey Club (THC)