Kenya rugby legend Humphrey Kayange says he has a mixture of emotions as he looks back on his playing time alongside his brother Collins Injera, who recently retired.
The brothers competed together for the National Teams Kenya Simbas and Kenya 7s, as well as for Kenya Cup side Mwamba Rugby.
Kayange says his rugby experience was enhanced by Injera’s presence on the World 7s Series, and that the time they spent traveling together was invaluable and will remain dear to him.
He describes Injera as embodying a perfect blend of skill, commitment, passion, and work ethic that made him a standout player in Sevens tournaments around the world.
“Collo, looking back at your career, I am going through the mixed emotions that come with the game -from re-living sporting moments where you lose more games than you win – to reflecting on the memorable occasions that leave a smile on our faces,” Kayange posted on his Instagram account.
“My rugby journey became more special when you, my brother, my teammate and my friend, joined me in the world of Sevens Rugby.”
“Your retirement this week from international rugby also causes these mixed emotions – a time to celebrate achievement and a time of change. You have been the embodiment of skill, commitment, passion, and work ethic that has lit up so many Sevens destinations around the world.”
“Our travels, the work outs, the game changing moments and celebrations have been priceless and will remain forever in my heart.”
“This game has given us so much of its character and we can only look ahead to giving the game so much of ourselves in the next chapter.”
“Thank you for lighting up our lives for the last 17 years chasing your dream.”
Injera announced his retirement from rugby following an illustrious career in which he represented his country at both sevens and 15s.
Injera made his test debut against Uganda in August 2006 and was most recently involved in the Simbas’ Rugby Africa Cup 2022 campaign in France last July.
However, it is in the shorter format of the game that he will be most fondly remembered.
Injera, 36, made his HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut in Hong Kong in March 2007 and went on to make 424 appearances across 15 years. In total he scored 279 tries – second only to England and Great Britain great Dan Norton – and 1,443 points on the circuit.
Across his decade and a half in the Series, he played in 83 tournaments, the most by a Kenyan player and seventh highest overall. After scoring his 200th Series try, at Twickenham in 2015, Injera produced a marker pen from his sock and signed the match ball and television camera.
He also appeared at two Olympic Games and four Rugby World Cup Sevens. Arguably his greatest moment in a Kenya sevens jersey came at RWC Sevens 2009 in Dubai, where he crossed the whitewash five times to help the Shujaa Sevens into the semi-finals.
Following that tournament, Injera was nominated alongside his brother Humphrey ‘Tall’ Kayange for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2009.
Injera, playing with Kayange, also scored two tries in the Cup final as Kenya beat Fiji 30-7 to win their only title to date on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore in 2016.
It was perhaps fitting that his final appearance for Kenya came at RWC Sevens 2022, in Cape Town last September, helping the Shujaa to 12th place.