Raymond Mwashi: A star on the rise
Published On March 1, 2014 » 2853 Views» By Administrator Times » Columns, Sports
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Spectrum - newRAYMOND Mwashi’s attacking display and his ability to turn a match around in a matter of minutes is unbelievable. He has a quick step with remarkable strength in his runs and in defence.
A bit shy off the field but a force to be reckoned with on it, Raymond’s height and strength are perfect aspects that give him a great advantage down the wing position. His runs are explosive and his ability to pick up speed make him tremendously lethal in attack.
All these characteristics make Raymond much a player to watch as the 2014 Zambia Rugby Union/Buildcon season opens on March 8 and in the years to come.
Years of discipline, hard work and commitment have made Raymond a special player and an absolute delight to watch. A true product of the schools rugby, Raymond’s game play is reminiscent of a perfect Sevens rugby player he would become in future.
At 11-years old, Raymond was already engulfed in the world of rugby as he participated in community games at Ndola Wanderers rugby club.
From then on, he has grown in confidence in his own abilities. His speed off the mark is good and he possesses a wonderful balance while his defending intuition that comes from his well tuned-in rugby brain is second to none.
Every rugby season in Zambia produces some of the exciting and talented players who strive to make their mark in the sport and probably fight for places in national teams.
Their rise to stardom is well calculated as they stand out from the rest to position themselves for undisputable selection in their various teams.
Raymond has been a star on the rise ever since he was at Chifubu High School in Ndola where he developed his exploits in the sport and proved to be a lethal runner especially against backline players when he is playing in the wing.
He showed signs of a great future rugby potential when he represented Chifubu High School at various Schools and inter-districts tournaments. He guided Chifubu to winning second position during the Ndola Schools Rugby 15s tournament in 2010, which was followed by a third place finish at the inter-district tournament that same year.
His determination and enthusiasm in rugby have seen him succeed in his school environment and he set his priorities right to aim for the under-19 national team debut.
The positive beginning in high school rugby success was a stepping stone to attaining his rugby dream and indeed, a window of opportunity opened soon after he completed secondary school in 2011 as he joined ‘Killer Bees’ Ndola Wanderers, the club where he first discovered his rugby talent.
Looking up to South African rugby star Bryan Habana, Raymond has developed so much into a fully fledged player with all round kicking, passing, attacking, and defensive abilities that have made him a solid part of Ndola Wanderers rugby club.
With the ball under his arm, Raymond is a player that seems to understand the movements of his opponents and knows exactly how they react in different situations and indeed how to utilise his abilities in order to win games.
In 2011, his dream to make an international debut for the country was in sight when he was called for the team selection trials ahead of the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) tournament in Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, he could not make the final team because of stiff competition from other players but his failure to make the final team did not dampen his resolve to forge ahead and give in his best.
A year later, another opportunity to play in the national team came his way and this time around, he was at his best after excelling during the trials to earn a place in the squad that was bound for another CAR competition in Zimbabwe.
His international debut was however unsuccessful as Zambia suffered early elimination from the competition after losing all the three matches.
At club level, Raymond guided his club to the final of the 2012 American tournament which they lost by a try to Diggers and won the Nchanga 10s plate final that same year after beating Konkola 10-0.
Last year, the 21 year old talented rugby player helped his league B side reach the last four of the inaugural Knock out Cup that was won by the ‘Men at Work,’ Diggers.
Raymond scored the only try of the game that dumped 2013 national league winners Arrows out of the tournament with an emphatic 8-0 score.
As the new rugby season approaches, the young player’s ultimate target this year is to graduate into the senior national team.
According to him, “playing for the senior national is what every player dreams of and I am determined to achieve that dream this year. All I need is to work hard and ensure that my fitness levels remain high.”
Raymond is just one of the many youngsters that have showcased immense rugby talent and the national rugby body needs to hold on to such players for future prospects.
Born on December 6 1992 and having completed schools four years ago, Raymond wants to pursue a military career in the Zambia Army, following in the footsteps of his father Godfrey who served in the Army as an Officer.
To him rugby is a sport he enjoys most and he feels no professional career will ever detach him from it.
“I would like to continue with my involvement in rugby because it’s my number one sport. I do understand that it would be difficult for me to fully get committed to rugby when I join the Army but I think the love and passion that I have for the it (rugby) will always lead me to devising an alternative route in all my challenges,” he said adding, “I want rugby to be part of my life.”
Raymond is on a highway to success in rugby, he is one of the good youngsters that the rugby fraternity must nurture.
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