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Kenya 7s legend Kayange retires from international rugby
By Eric Njiru | Fri 01 Jun, 2018 20:17

Kenya Sevens international Humphrey Kayange has announced his retirement from international rugby. 

Through a long Instagram post on Friday, London 7s eve, Kayange said: "it has been about 2 years now that I have been trying to get back to the field for Kenya and run out with the brothers one last time. Guess it wasn’t to be. It is time to say goodbye to my international career in both 7s and 15s." 

Kayange was part of the Kenya Sevens squad that won Singapore 7s main cup in 2016 and the team that went to Rio Olympics in 2016. 

He has played 66 tournaments in the World Sevens series, and two World Cup tournaments. 

Kayange finished the 2016/17 Kenya Cup season as the top scorer playing at flank and earned a call-up to Kenya 15s training squad but was later ruled out by an injury.

In 2017, he was elected un-opposed to the National Olympics Committee of Kenya as the players' representative. 

New Zealand legend Dj Forbes announced is retirement earlier in the season while USA's Zack Test announced his retirement just before Las Vegas 7s in 2018.

Read Also: Kayange on hat-trick as Mwamba bamboozle Nondies

Kayange was part of the delegation that lobbied for Rugby Sevens to be admitted back to the Olympics after 100 years in the cold. He continues to represent Franchise side Samuari international in various sevens tournaments like Independence Sevens, Safari 7s, Embu 7s and Amsterdam 7s. 

Since current Kenya Sevens head coach Innocent Simiyu took over, he hasn't considered Kayange for selection; two season now gone. The 15s team, known as Kenya Simbas, has also not required Kayange's services after he left Kenya Sevens in 2016. 

"The last 12 years have been an unbelievable experience and I have loved every min of it. I have been blessed to play the game for more than a decade and to explore my talent and abilities while injury free for the better part of it." "I would like to thank a few people that have been part of the journey."

"My gratitude goes out to: My family, Mum &Dad, Collo, Lee & Mike for all the support they have given me. I have shared amazing memories with my brothers as well representing the republic ." 

Rugby was not an obvious sporting choice for Kayange, who grew up in Eldoret in the Rift Valley, a region renowned for producing Kenya's greatest long-distance runners. Many top athletes, such as double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah, go there to train each winter. 

"Growing up there, all you saw were long-distance runners, a lot of them," he says. "Because of our history, everyone expects sportsmen from Kenya to be runners," he told CNN in 2014. 

Humphrey first played for Kenya 7s in 2005 at the age of 23. He was the third leading top try scorer in the world rugby 7s series in 2009-2010 season where Kenya finished sixth. Former New Zealand 7s Head coach, Gordon Tietjens included him in his ideal sevens team.

He was nominated for IRB Sevens Player of the Year in 2009. Kayange has also played for the Kenya national rugby union team (15s), playing at the 2011 World Cup Qualifiers. 

His brother Collins Injera is one of the greatest Sevens player and he is second in the list of all time top try scorers. The other brother, Michael Agevi, plays for Mwamba RFC. 

"Over 12 years, I have been coached by several guys who've made me better so thank you very much. For the S&Cs as well, I will always remember some of those painful sessions but it was all worth it. " "Mwamba RFC - the rock that my Rugby foundation lays on so always glad to have your back guys and know that you have mine . 

"To the 40M+ - you guys have made it all worthwhile and special through the joy and the tears. The experiences shared will never be forgotten. The critics made us work harder so thanks to each and every one of you."

"Now it’s time to focus on the next chapter, I have a few hats on already that have been keeping me busy. In between my Research duties at KEBS, getting my Level 2 coaching accreditation and my Athletes Commission responsibilities at the Olympic Committee, I look forward to many more opportunities where I can give back to the sport that has given me so much. Asante sana!!"

Eric Njiru
ericnjiru41@gmail.com 0726205521
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