It was a magic day for Patrick Odongo, Kenya’s top scorer at the concluded Africa Men’s 7s rugby Olympic Qualifiers at the Harare Sports Club in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Despite mourning the death of his mother, Odongo was the top scorer leading Shujaa, the national rugby 7s team to the third Olympic qualifier in a row after beating South African side Springboks at the finals with a 17-12 win on Sunday 17.
The physical Kevin Wambua coached side dedicated their win to Odongo who lost his mother Sophia Atieno Ogak just before the tournament on September 9 but the player decided to forget about the tribulations and focused on the national duties.
Wearing jersey 11 at the tournament, the Daystar Falcons player tweeted on X: “All mama wished for was to see her son play for his country in the Kenyan jersey and her wishes have come true. She being at a better place and watching me makes her and my country proud. Forever in my heart mama. I promise to make you proud.”
The Agoro Sare alumnus scored 7 tries joint with John Okoth, then Vincent Onyala and Nygel Amaitsa five each in the two day tournament.
Also the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) honoured the memory of Sophia by highlighting her dream of seeing her son represent Kenya on the global rugby stage.
KRU’s message read: “We dedicate our victory at the Rugby Africa 7s and the subsequent qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympics to the late Sophia Atieno Ogak who passed away on Saturday, 9 September 2023. She is the mother of our squad member, Patrick Odongo who showed great resolve in staying with the squad and playing a crucial role for us in sealing victory and Olympic qualification. Let us keep Patrick in our thoughts and prayers during this time. May the soul of Sophia Atieno Ogak rest in peace.”
At the tournament, Kenya remained unbeaten after beating Zimbabwe 35-10 in the semifinal, beat 26-0 to Burkina Faso in quarters and won all its pool B matches by defeating Nigeria 34-10, Namibia 51-0 and Zambia’s 38-12.
Odongo was among the six debutants included in the travelling party. The other new faces were Nygel Amaitsa, Samuel Asati, Festus Shiasi, Beldad Ogeta, and William Mwanji.