Monday, July 29, 2013

Adongo down to business at Indianapolis

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Elgon Warriors’ Dan Adongo (right) is tackled by England Counties’ Phil Chester during their match at RFUEA grounds on June 16, 2013.

PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO Elgon Warriors’ Dan Adongo (right) is tackled by England Counties’ Phil Chester during their match at RFUEA grounds on June 16, 2013. The touring Counties won 34-14.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI sayodi@ke.nationmedia.com

Was Dan Adongo’s move to the National Football League in the United States of America a good career move?

It remains to be known if the 23-year-old former junior rugby international, who is a former Counties Manukau and Southern Kings lock will still play for Kenya 15s at next year’s qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

Kenya 15s head coach Jerome Paarwater had said that Adongo was willing to play for Kenya in the qualifiers after arriving from Madagascar two weeks ago where his team won the Africa Cup.

Adongo seems to have settled down to business in his new venture as his new club Indianapolis Colts, through its website, indicated that he would take over in the linebacker position in a two-year contract that will see him get Sh35.3m (US$ 405,000) in the first year.

According to the website, Adongo is among the lowest paid players in the professional league, getting a monthly average salary of Sh 2.94m. The highest paid player at Colts is linebacker Robert Mathis, who has a four-year contract and an average annual income of $9,000,000 (Sh783m).

Surprised by offer

Adongo was quoted by his team’s website as having described his enrolment at Colts as a big shock, but is happy with the opportunity that he has been given and promises to do the best he can for the team.

“I will start from scratch, but I am a quick learner, ready to put in hard yards,” he told the club, adding that he brings loyalty, aggression and physical approach to the team. 

“It will be baby steps for me but I will have to be patient but at the same time make progress. It’s just mental thing and I have to switch to it since it has similar positions to rugby.”

Contracted weeks ago

Adongo was contacted by the Colts three weeks ago and was keen to try out is luck in the NFL.

“If you get an electronic mail from a team, you definitely know they’re not kidding,” said Adongo.  “I was in South Africa and we started discussing a few things on e-mail. We exchanged e-mails here and there,” Adongo was quoted by his new team’s website.
“Everything happened so quickly.  I took everything in and signed on the dotted line.”

With that, Adongo changed from NPC rugby to NFL football, from loose forward to outside linebacker, from his native land to the United States – where he never had been previously. 

“Being the person that I am, I went with my gut feeling,” said Adongo.  “If something feels right, I’m not going to doubt myself.  I’m going to go for it immediately.  Rugby is always going to be big.  This feels right to me. Everything is going to be pretty new to me,” Adongo is reported as saying at the Colts training camp.

Adongo, who is the first Kenyan to play in world’s most famous rugby league, Super Rugby, is also the first Kenyan to feature in the NFL, even though he is not the first African.

Adongo joins five other Africans top join NFL this year. Others are Ziggy Ansah (Ghana, Detroit), Edmund Kugbila (Ghana, Carolina) and Stansly Maponga (Zimbabwe, Atlanta).

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