Why I follow in my father’s footsteps
Barry Silah @obel_barry
Brian Onyango Ayimba is trying to come out of his father’s shadow. The 21-year-old utility player for Homeboyz Rugby FC is son to former Kenya Shujaa head coach Benjamin Ayimba; a revered figure in rugby speak and the only man who led Kenya to a maiden main cup title in Singapore in 2016.The towering figure shares quite a bit with his iconic father.
He speaks highly of the man who inspires and motivates him in an out of the pitch.
For Brian, there is no better teacher than a father and this has guided him through the paces in his young life.
“The greatest lesson I have learnt from my dad is no one is going to hand anything to you on a silver platter.
If you want something, you have to work for it. Also, do not be scared to try because that is the only way you will know if something works for you or not. Taking calculated risk is a good thing,” he says in jest.
The third year student of Actuarial Science at Catholic University terms Ayimba Senior as more than a role model in his eyes.
“I can confidently say he was my best friend. I would not necessarily consider him a sporting model; I would say he is an overall model. There is so much to him than just sport; but yes, he is my all time hero.
The way he explains certain scenarios in the game is so unique you cannot fail to listen to him because of his perspective about the game,” Brian says.
Ever since Brian got engaged in active rugby in secondary school, his father has been encouraging him and he has been watching videos analysing the game.
“I am not surprised we share a lot in common. For starters, he went to Maseno School, famous for excellent sporting and academic results, same as I. Baba (as we like to call him) is by far the best father anyone could ask for,” he adds.
However, beyond the good naturedness of Ayimba senior, Brian reveals his father is also a strict parent.
“He is strict when it comes to discipline, but he is open-minded and would rather we make mistakes and learn from them.
He is never one to verbally or physically punish, but his punishments when I was young, were mental.
He would make you read a book and tell him what it was about in detail, for example,” adds the first born of four.
He recalls once when he got into trouble with his dad; “I was in primary school and he had bought me a new pair of shoes.
And they were delivered to me in school by one of my aunts. When going back home, I forgot the shoes at the bus stop and that’s how I lost a brand new pair.
Let us just say it did not go well,” adds Brian who has also played for Catholic University Monks RFC.
Incidentally, his mother was kind of apprehensive about her son engaging in rugby. But not his father.
“For my dad, there was no question about it— he was in full support. But the problem was with my mother.
She always thought I would do ballet so, when she heard I was going to play rugby, she was abit skeptical about it.
However, I believe she feared I would get injuried in the game. As for my father, I believe he wanted a successor in the game,” he says.
Having been in the limelight also comes with it’s fair share of negative publicity. However, according to Brian, that does not deter him or the dad much.
“One of the craziest rumour I have heard about my dad was when I was in primary school.
The rumour mills had it that Baba had been laid off. He was not aware of it until he logged into Facebook.
I read that a blogger was saying Baba was fired because he was depressed and could not continue with his job.
It ended up not affecting him much because he seemed alright to me so, I just shrugged it off… I know my father too well,” Brian says.
When all is said and done, Brian admires his father. They hang out a lot and talk about life. He also hastens to add that Ayimba is crazy about cars and architectural works.
“I am yet to see someone who has achieved so much remain so humbled and have such a great balance between work and family. I think for me that is the greatest lesson,” he says.