Name: Caleb Odima
Age: 19 years
Occupation: Management student at Kenya Institute of Management
Hobby: Listening to Trance Music, Football Fanatic. Loves Chelsea Football Club, Favorite player Juan Mata.
When did you start playing handball and why?
I first played handball in 2007, I was in form 2. We were having inter-classes competition and I got selected to play in our class team. I have loved playing since then. Our handball coach was encouraging and made me become a better player.
What team do you play for?
I play in the Strathmore Handball Team. I also joined the Handball National Senior Team this year. I really hope to participate in a lot of competitions and represent my country.
What position do you play?
I play as a goal keeper. Protecting the post is important, the less the opponents score the more my team has an opportunity to win.
Who Coaches you?
My coach is Mr. Ita Mwathi. He is the Strathmore coach. He is a very good coach because to be in his team you have to be disciplined. He is very strict too, which is a good thing because he only wants the best results. He motivates us to be the best in the game.
How many times do you train in a week?
I train 4 times a week. A day for gym training and 3 days for field work.
Who is your favorite player?
Niklas Landin. He is Denmark’s Handball Goalkeeper. He has immense passion for the game which inspires me.
How many medals do you have?
I have 7 medals. All from different competitions.
What other teams have you played for?
I have played for the national team in the Under-16, Under-17 and Under-20 team. Now am in the senior team. In 2010 while I was in the U-17 team we emerged number 4 in the championship. In 2012 when I was in the U-20 team we emerged number 3 in the regional championship. Last year I also got to play in the Ugandan Handball league. I played for the Uganda Police team, and it was a great experience but I came back to Kenya for education.
What is your best moment in your handball career so far?
In 2012 at the regional championships, we beat Burundi. This was an epic moment for me because no other Kenyan Handball National team has ever beaten Burundi. They are always thrashing us but this time round we did the thrashing. It was a good feeling and now we have raised the bar for the oncoming generations.
What challenges do you face in the national team?
We lack consistency in our coaches. Every year the federation brings in a new coach and I really think consistency is a key factor in growth and continuity in a team. The team doesn’t get enough time to bond and know each other well; we only go to training camps a few days to a tournament or a game.
I would really like to thank my first coach, Mr. Samuel Waguire. He is the one who awakened my passion for the game and inspired me to play. I would also like to appreciate my friend Celestus Okoyan, he encourages me and he is just a good friend.
Taking this handball path in Kenya is really hard. The federation is not supporting us as they should. You cannot be a full time handball player; you have to have a side job. Upcoming and existing players should not give up the game no matter how hard the journey. Nothing comes easy in this life, so you should struggle to achieve your dreams and to make it in handball.