Everyone has his story to tell. We all must appreciate what life has brought us through and learn from all the highs and lows of life.
Today, we focus on HENRY OTUOMA one of the most disciplined and passionate hockey player in Mombasa. An aggressive and a clinical defender on the books of Daikyo Heroes Hockey Club.
Daikyo Heroes Hockey Club
St. Charles Lwanga Changamwe
Mombasa West Hockey Club
Mombasa Sports Club
When did you first know about hockey?
My first encounter with hockey was when I was in primary school and my aunt SARAH ASERO who plays for MOMBASA sports club ladies team was playing topflight hockey in Kenya. She used to have hockey trophies and plaques that kept me wondering what they meant to her. She urged me to play hockey when grown up and I was curious about the game. She even urged my parents to allow me play hockey but I was too young so I waited for the right time.She is my mentor and my idol for introducing me and mentoring all the way.
Which school did you play for?
St Charles Lwanga Secondary School Changamwe under the late Coach David Mwasambo, Julius Masero and Peter Obalo.
Apart from the awareness that you had about hockey from childhood, what actually made you start playing?
When I joined form 1, I used to see the team play so I was curious and I wanted to try out.One day I asked one of the seniors (Edwin Eboso) if I could join them in training and he welcomed me very well. The first training session I did was in school attire. I wanted to know more about the game and wanted to feel what my aunt feels when playing hockey.
After trying out the first time, what kept you going?
When I start something, I never stop. I was fully into the game and that’s where the passion for the game began.
How has your hockey journey been ever since you started?
In my school years, I trained and played hockey with passion and much aggression knowing that there’s a good future in hockey as I was aware of clubs like Mvita XI and Mombasa Institute used to scout players from our school so I pushed to become one of the best. The MOMBASA County hockey association started the Coast league that school teams played against clubs, this was the turning point of my hockey journey. I started to play against seasoned high profile players from the best clubs in MOMBASA. The mentality, physicality and composure they exhibited was top notch and I learned a lot from them. I also showcased what I could do with the skills that I had. I finally got an invitation to train with
MOMBASA Sports club men through their captain Emadau Mariano. I was delighted and knew I was on the right path.I played a number of matches with them but because I was still in school, I had to put my concentration on studies. The few matches I played for them gave me the confidence and assurance that I was in the right sport and I was headed for success.
Immediately after highschool…
When I finished my studies, rumor was that high level hockey was only played in Nairobi, so I found myself traveling to Nairobi to train with the development squad under Coach Tom Olal. The experience was good but there were a lot of hitches like housing and upkeep and the ultimate blow came when my Mum passed away. Priorities had to change as I moved back home to Siaya and stopped playing hockey at all as I was still finding my feet and also pursuing Electrical Engineering course. I didn’t play hockey for 2-3 years and in this period I felt like I was not complete. Life without hockey was not balanced at all. This game gives me balance in life, when things don’t go my way I usually turn to hockey.
Return to MOMBASA…
After the 2-3 years, I returned to Mombasa, back to MOMBASA West Hockey club where it all began and became a part of the team once again. Back to playing hockey again. Although the team was on and off the league untill the pandemic struck and everything was halted but I kept training individually, waking up at 4 am for morning runs everyday anticipating that the league would resume and find me a better and a fitter player.
Call to Daikyo Heroes hockey club…
We had Coast region mixed training sessions where everyone from Mombasa and Kilifi trained together. This was a good idea that brought us together . That was when the team was formed and definitely got a call to join the team and I thought it was a step forward in my hockey career.
My first ambition is to play for the National team.
My second ambition is to play in the African club championship
My third ambition is to mentor other youths to succeed in this game.
Best quote by a teammate or a coach.
“As a hockey player, you must have compound eyes in the field” by Mariano Emadau.
Feeling after playing a poor game.
I feel disappointed but I go back to the drawing board, ask for advice and intensify my training methods.
MANPREET SINGH – INDIA NATIONAL TEAM CAPTAIN. He is a leader and a commander.
How do your teammates describe you?
Lethal and a clinical defender.
How do you deal with pressure from expectations both in life and hockey?
I do not overthink, I do the basic and simple things that won’t complicate my life .
How is your life outside hockey?
I am an electrical engineering student just about to graduate.
How do you balance hockey and life engagements?
I stay positive, dedicate myself to anything I do and hockey provides me with the emotional,mental and physical balance.
Most desired Kenyan club?
Kenya Police hockey team.
Notable people in your hockey career…
Coach Julius Masero, Pius Ratori, coach Austin Otieno, Anthony Wamalwa, Mark mwangi, Gabriel Gabu Kagwima, Peter Obalo, Coach Njogu and Sarah Asero, Coach Bill Olang and Benteke Muchina. Greatly inspired by how Robert Masibo of Kenya police plays.
Your current ambitions with Daikyo Heroes Hockey Club.
I want to be the ideal teammate, meet all the laid out objectives of the club, win trophies and leagues with the team and using this as a step to bigger and better things.
Where do you see Coast hockey’s progress in the next 2-3 years?
Coast hockey is progressing well, slow but on the right path. Players have to be dedicated to improving their levels and standards. Teams are becoming more hence good for competition.
Parting shot to all the youngsters still in highschool.
Hockey is an enjoyable game and it gives you a family out here. Keep at it and be dedicated, disciplined and motivate yourself to become better.