“My achievements are not that much, but it’s fine,” with a smile, Billy gives me a go ahead to continue with my numerous questions. So, humble he feeds my curiosity with patience.
Many say rugby is the game of the chosen few, reserved for the few extremely built, swift and a dangerous game for that matter. Well, that is precisely why it is to everyone’s astonishment when they see ‘Billy the kid’ ravage the pitch and tackling the opponents who are obviously way older than him.
At only 19, Billy Odhiambo emerged the highest scorer in 2012-2013 season just after finishing high school in 2011 and is now in the coveted Kenya Shujaa team. Billy, a second year student at Strathmore University, turned 20 a few days ago after a long time of being the teenage champion in rugby. The young player played an instrumental role to power the Shujaa team to their first win since 2000.
Billy’s history in rugby starts in high school. Born in Kisumu in a family of four, Billy’s journey started at Maseno high school where he helped his team reach the National championship finals. His remarkable performance led him to play for the National under-19 team in the 2011 Confederation of Africa Rugby Cup.
It is then that he was awarded a sports scholarship at Strathmore University in 2012 helping the Leos clinch the great rift 10 aside. His outstanding swiftness and skill intrigued Mark Friday to position him in the high performance training squad.
Describe yourself in one sentence
I am a humble go getter.
How did you get into rugby?
I started playing rugby in form 2 in Maseno School. It was a popular sport in my school so I tried it and apparently I fit in well.
Where did the name ‘Billy the kid’ come from?
The name Billy ‘The kid’ came from our previous coach Mike Friday. He used to compare me with Billy the kid who was a notorious gun slinger from the West.
Do you think your attitude has changed much since you got into the team?
No. I’m still the same Billy everyone knew
How does it feel like to be the youngest in the rugby team?
Being the youngest in the team is quite humbling…playing alongside great people, legends of the game in fact. From this I get to learn a lot of things and get better by the day.
What challenges do you face as a young celebrity?
Challenges will always be there. I am a student and balancing the two is quite hard. That’s the most challenging aspect so far.
What keeps you going (motivation)?
I am glad that God has given me the talent and I feel that if God gives you something you should use it well. That is what keeps me going.
Who is your mentor or whom do you look up to and why?
My dad. This is because he is so hardworking, kind and generous. Plus he has been very supportive to me.
What advice would you give to someone who has similar ambitions?
What I can tell people with similar ambitions is that hard work never goes in vain. Believing in yourself also is the biggest favor you can do to yourself and God answers prayers.