PARIS, France, Jun 18 – On the first floor of the main wing at the National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis, Paris, Harambee Stars took an entire room and turned it into a mini sports hospital, fully equipped and ready to deal with any eventuality arising from training or out of it.
In Paris, Stars had a medical team of four, headed by the experienced Wycliffe Makanga who has worked with the national team for close to two decades.
For the first time in the team’s history, there was bigger and better attention to the recovery and injury management of players.
“I have been here for long and I can say this is the best investment I have ever seen in the medical department. Not just in terms of the facility but also the top notch personnel brought on board but also the amount of money used to equip this room. This are not cheap equipment,” Makanga told Capital Sport.
The medical team headed by Makanga also has Wycliffe Oduo and Frenchman Hanneuse Olivier who specialize in physiotherapy as well as osteopath Ludovic Breul, whose speciality mainly rotates around injury management and recovery.
“I have done this for a while now for several teams in France. I have also specialized in Chinese alternative medicine and working for the Kenya national team is an honor for me,” says Breul who hails from the Re-Union Islands.
Breul and Olivier were brought on board by head coach Sebastien Migne. Breul was seconded to the tactician by goalkeeper trainer Coffy Guillame with whom he worked with during is active days as a footballer.
He also specializes in a special kind of aquatic recovery.
Oduo who also works for Kenyan Premier League side Mathare United hopes that he can pick up lessons to take back home and has challenged clubs to invest in their medical teams because that majorly makes or breaks a team.
He says that the National Rugby Centre has made it easier to work, saying it is equipped with modern and state of the art facilities which complement what they already have in their own medical room.
“The gym is one of the best because it has all equipment we need both for strength and conditioning as well as measuring fitness and all. There is a Cybex machine that helps us measure muscle strength of a player and that helps us to know the weak and strong areas of each player,” Oduo stated.
“The facility also has a tranquil nature park that we use for our recovery and early morning runs and the fresh breath around makes it really interesting,” he said.
The equipment in the room is diverse, with majority leaning on recovery and injury management.
There are two transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units that most of the players including Ayub Timbe have used to manage their knee injuries as well as an Aircast Knee Cryo Cuff with Cooler.
The room also has several massage tables which the players find very comforting after tough training lessons.