NAIROBI, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Veteran Kenya Sevens rugby player Humphrey Kayange has called time on his international rugby career.
Tenacious injuries, old age and a tough competition for places in the national team have forced the 35-year old to hang his boots saying he will not be able to force his way back to the team soon.
"It has been about two years now that I have been trying to get back to the field for Kenya and run out with the brothers one last time. Guess it wasn't to be. It is time to say goodbye to my international career in both sevens and 15s," said Kayange on Saturday in Nairobi.
Kayange had become a trademark figure for Kenya sevens and it will take something special to fill the void the former skipper has left in the team.
He has been dominant in the Red and Green shirt for more than a decade and captained the team to the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens semifinals in Dubai.
He also featured in the side that reached the same stage in 2013 in Russia and played an integral role at the 2016 Rio Olympics as the sport returned to the games.
"He was the World Rugby Anti-Doping ambassador besides spearheading rugby's journey back to the Olympics. We shall need him to move to the Kenya Sevens technical bench," said Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) chairman Richard Omwela.
Many fans expressed their gratitude for the man who has helped Kenya Sevens rugby return to the top and secure core status in the World Series.
Now as he retires to sunset, he can only look back with happiness of a journey he has walked. "It is my turn to say goodbye," he said.
"The last 12 years have been an unbelievable experience and I have loved every minute of it. I have been blessed to play the game for more than a decade and to explore my talent and abilities while injury free for the better part of it.
"I would like to thank the people who have been part of the journey. Over 12 years, I have been coached by several guys who've made me better so thank you very much."
However, Kayange will not be leaving the sport he loves for good. He hopes to continue playing a role in coaching or research in his next chapter.
"I want to get my level 2 coaching accreditation and my Athletes Commission responsibilities at the Olympic Committee. I look forward to many more opportunities where I can give back to the sport that has given me so much," he added.