2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Phelix Opana: My life has changed a lot after playing Kabaddi - Interviews

Phelix Opana: My life has changed a lot after playing Kabaddi

30 September 2016

Phelix Odhiambo Opana first came to India to represent Bengal Warriors in the third season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. Since then, he has developed a deep bonding for the game, so much so that he has been promoting it back in his homeland Kenya. Simon Kibura, Opana’s fellow countryman and Star Sports Pro Kabaddi’s first Kenyan player, had introduced him to the game two years ago – a life-changing moment for him.

We caught up with Phelix Opana in Ahmedabad ahead of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:

Q: What does playing kabaddi mean to you?

A: I love the game! I play it with my heart. Since I have started playing this game, my life has changed a lot. Now I can say that I know a game that I can teach people back at home. I played kabaddi, initially, for fun. Back home, we call it ‘Icho’. But when the field got smaller I started loving it as it was more challenging. I am young now. But when I get old, I want to use the knowledge and experience to teach others, (and) change their lives through kabaddi.

Q: How has your team shaped up for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup?

A: We started preparing for it early on. We have good players. People should expect the best out of them for the World Cup.

Q: What is that one mental aspect that you carry on the field?

A: Mentally when I am in the game, I tend to be stress-free. Because this is a mind game. For you to use strength and tactics, you must think a lot. I cannot afford to think about other things in my life. If I do, I will give the point to the opponent and punish my team. We cannot afford that.

Q: This isn’t your first time in India. What do think of the country, its people and weather?

A: I just love it here! Although the weather is a bit hot, the people are really welcoming and friendly. Everything here is so good.

Q: Apart from playing kabaddi, what do you do?

A: I am an artist. I sing live music with my band. I play football, I act and do modelling. I believe I am a multi-talented person. (laughs)

Q: Before we conclude, can you tell us something about your family back home?

A: My family has always been into sports. I’ll start with my dad. He’s a military man and also a football referee. I have three sisters who play football with known clubs in Kenya. I, myself, play rugby and football. So our family is pretty much a sporting family.