NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – On form Shujaa star Alvin Otieno says the pain of missing out on Kenya’s squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games spurred him on to take out the beast in him and step up his performances for the 2019/20 season.
The 25-year old hard-hitter, nicknamed the Water Buffalo, then christened Buf Daddy by his teammates for his marauding nature only played in the Asian Tour of the World Series in 2016 and consequently missed out on Kenya’s sojourn to Rio.
“It was very painful for me because I had worked very hard and I wanted to make the team but unfortunately, I was not selected. I vowed to work harder from then on to see if I can make the team and I believe I am on the way,” Otieno told Capital Sport.
Otieno has been the darling of the crowd and commentators in the opening four rounds of the 2019/20 season with his performances and playing style of taking no prisoners in his runs.
And as they say, statistics don’t lie.
Otieno is the highest try scorer for Kenya this season with eight in 16 matches. He also has the highest number of clean breaks (eight) and has recorded the third highest number of runs so far with 36. He has also made 14 tackles, the ninth highest in the team.
Overall, he is Kenya’s second best try scorer with 40, only behind Daniel Taabu who has 51 because of his extra conversion and penalty duties.
“The pain of missing out on the Olympics and knowing that this is the Olympic year have spurred me on to work. Also, the coach has really helped me because he believes in me and my style of play. He has given me more playing time than the other coaches and that has given me confidence as well,” Otieno states.
“I have also received so much support from my teammates because they like how I play and have motivated me. The fans also keep pushing me because when you hear the support from the stands, it gives you strength and motivates you to push on,” the Buf Daddy further states.
In his quest to earn a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics team, Otieno knows he has his work cut out but believes he stands a chance with his performances so far.
“It is kinda tough because the old boys are back in the team but I am hoping for the best. It will be a dream come true to make it to the Olympics. I have been ready to play for a long time and I feel that this is my chance and I am ready to take it,” he added.
Otieno will have at least two more tournaments to show the coaches that he has what it takes to be at the Olympics with the Los Angeles and Vancouver legs of the series coming up next.