Recently retired rugby ace is one of the greatest players in the history of Kenyan sports. Bernard Sigei explores highlight of his achievements during his career on the pitch.
1. Debut to rugby
Injera debuted with the team at the 2006 Dubai Sevens and played in the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens,[where Kenya reached the semi-finals. He became the top for 2008-09 IRB Sevens World Series season with 42 tries. He also scored 210 points and finished second behind Ben Gollings in the individual points table. Injera has also played for the Kenya national rugby union team (15s) at his usual position left wing (number 11), playing at the 2011 World Cup Qualifiers.(7s)
2. SOYA awards sportsman of the year
In 2009 Injera the international Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens rugby circuit top scorer made a name for himself when he was named the new Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year award winner in the men’s category.
In the same year, he was named the Kenyan Sportsman of the Year even as he was awarded the Presidential Order of Golden Warriors (OGW) in 2010.
3. Player of the final game of 2016 World Rugby Sevens
The crown jewel of his career was winning the Singapore leg of the World Sevens Series in 2016, where he was named all time try scorer on the World Rugby Sevens Series as Kenya beat Fiji 30-7 in the finals. Its the series that made the Kenyan team capture their first World Series event. Injera made 2 outstanding tries in the first half ensuring the team’s victory.
4. Induction to the Fiji Hall of Fame
The honour came January 2023 with Injera becoming the 12th person to be recognised in Fiji’s famous rugby playing town of Sigatoka. He is the second African player after South Africa’s Bryan Habana. The 12-year old awards in honour of some of the most outstanding players in rugby even as his elder brother Humphrey Kanyange became the first Kenyan rugby player to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2021.
5. Top try-scorer of the 2008/09 IRB Rugby Sevens series.
Injera won the Kenyan sports man of the year award in 2009. IRB Sevens player in 2010, Injera was awarded the presidential Order of Golden Warriors (OGW) alongside his brother Humphrey Kayange for their performance in the 2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series. Collins Injera was named Player of the final in 2016 Singapore Sevens, after he helped Kenya to win their first tournament in World Sevens Series.
6. Nominated 2008/09 IRB sevens player of the year award
The Mwamba club (Kulabu) member was in 2008/09 season nominated for the award which was eventually won by Ollie Phillips (rugby union).
7. Kenya’s all-time World Sevens Series top try scorer
The 36-year old player is the country’s all-time World Sevens Series top try scorer and second highest try scorer at the World Sevens Series when he went over the white wash for 279 times. While vice-captaining in 2016 he outdid Argentina’s Santiago Gomez Cora who initially held a best all time scorer by registering 230 tries. He broke the record with his unconverted score agains France in that year’s IRB series finals made him outshine Cora.
8. 200th score celebration.
In 2015, Injera made history when he made good a try which was his 200th since his debut in the game in 2006 even as he started his rugby career in division two climbing up to the highest levels in the sport. The score was when he helped Kenya beat Japan at the London sevens at Twickenham. The highlight of the celebration was when he went to an extent of destroying a camera worth a whooping Sh9.7 million by signing a rugby ball on a camera lens.
9. Advocating for recognition of athletes
Injera will be remembered by other athletes and stakeholders for firmly requesting the state to recognize all athletes because for most of them that is where they get their daily bread even as they have put Kenya on the map by their exemplary performance. While speaking during the SOYA awards Injera reiterated that athletes needed more than awards but financial support will come in handy.
Throughout his 17-year rugby career Injera has been able to display outstanding performance both in 15s and 7s; he collected 279 tires (second of all time), 1443 points scored (ninth of all time), 424 matches played and one leg won (Singapore Sevens, 2016).
Other notable achievements by Injera include; Commonwealth Games 2010, 2014, 2018, Olympic Games 2016, 2020, Vancouver Sevens Cup final 2018, Hong Kong Sevens Cup final 2018 and multiple Safari Sevens winner.