In a poignant moment on Saturday, November 11th, the Kenya Lionesses rugby team bid an emotional farewell to Evelyn Kalemera Amulega, marking the end of her illustrious five-year journey with the national squad.
Kalemera, whose love for the sport started after an influence from her elder brother Michael Shibadu who turned out for Mwamba and Blak Blad said she saw it fit to time on her international career.
“Going by P.L.O Lumumba’s quote,NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU ARE,IF YOU STAY TOO LONG, YOU SPOIL IT.A GOOD DANCER MUST KNOW WHEN TO EXIT THE STAGE.I have retired from the national stage,not from rugby.I am still available on the local scene.” She told the Scrummage Africa.
Evelyn Kalemera next move
On why she decided to quit, the experienced forward termed career focus as the key reason.
“Upfront, right now am focusing on my career advancement, I am an Office Administrative Assistant by profession, and am looking forward to some pending promotional opportunities, so I am pursuing the relevant courses,” she offered.
“All the same am still connected to the game, in any capacity there is, for my local club (Mwamba RFC). As a player, I have undertaken some world rugby online courses, and begun children’s coaching. So in due time, the rugby sport future will take full shape in whatever direction, be it management or consultancy, ” she added.
This farewell held additional sentiment as it followed the Lionesses’ impressive 87-03 triumph over Uganda in the Elgon Cup finals at Jomo Kenyatta Mamboleo Stadium, Kisumu.
As the final whistle echoed on the rugby field, it not only celebrated the Lionesses’ victory but also closed the chapter on Kalemera’s remarkable career. Teammates, who had shared victories and challenges with her, gathered to express heartfelt goodbyes, turning the occasion into a celebration of her contributions that extended beyond the try lines.
Sharon Auma, a rising speedster for the Kenya Lionesses, shared her thoughts on Kalemera: “I first interacted with Kalemera on my debut match to South Africa with the 15s side. She was my roommate, a cool lady, a good tackler, and a ball carrier. We will surely miss her services in the team and wish her the best of luck in her next endeavours. We didn’t see her retirement coming that soon. Happy retirement Kenya 1,” she told the Scrummage Africa.
The Elgon Cup triumph served as a fitting crescendo to Kalemera’s career, and her teammates ensured the farewell resonated as a celebration of her dedication and sportsmanship.
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Knight Otuoma reflected on Kalemera’s retirement, stating, “Kalemera’s retirement marks the end of an era characterized by unwavering dedication and exceptional teamwork. Her skills on the field were matched only by her leadership off it. Her legacy extends beyond the stats – she leaves behind a lasting impression on our team and a void that will be challenging to fill.”
Nakuru RFC and Lionesses centre Moreen Muritu described Kalemera as a mature, respectful, high-spirited individual with a great passion for the game.
Muritu expressed gratitude for Kalemera’s mentorship of young talent and her impact on building character, resilience, and meaningful relationships within the team.
“Well, Kalemera is a mature, respectful, high-spirited individual, with great passion and understanding towards the game. A sister and a friend to many. Her sacrifice and dedication through the years of her game show why the game of rugby stands out from the rest of the sports. It builds character, resilience and above all great relationships, connections and memories. I’ll miss her in the team for her advice, jokes and times we shared in training and during national duties. I wanna thank her for mentoring young talent in players and believing in them to achieve more towards rugby and life in general. Happy retirement Eveline”