Simbas Head Coach Paul Odera has paid his tribute to Father Frank Caffrey who was buried in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday 18 April 2020 following his demise from COVID-19 related complications four days earlier.
Odera, a former Kenya Sevens and Fifteens captain was one of the beneficiaries of Father Caffrey’s rugby initiatives at the St. Mary’s School in Nairobi and had this to say.
“Father Caffrey shaped not only my approach to rugby, but broadened my outlook on life and his method of getting the best out of us players has formed the basis of my coaching philosophy.
I lost my father when I was in 2nd Form and Father Caffrey together with the headmaster at that time Father Hogan and our Dean Mr. Gannon played a big role in being the father figures in my life through my high school.
My approach to the national team has been one of inclusion. To accommodate every race, tribe, rich or poor player. As long as they have the ability. I learned this from Fr. Caffrey. When I was captain he had set up a process of consultation every Wednesday before the Prescott cup matches.
There are many times he urged me to reconsider including a less talented player who was indeed a true representation of the “Saints” spirit as opposed to a more talented player. I learned how to respect protect the rights of minorities. Our Asian community, how our Muslims were given a bus to take them to the mosque every Friday which he paid for as the Bursar.
Fr. Caffrey was a visionary. Periodisation was adopted early in when I joined the school. Free body weight training, but most importantly, analysis, team meetings and meticulous planning. these are values I still hold true to my coaching.
The biggest contribution to my life was the fact that Fr. Caffrey tried to support me to be a better young man.
Even with all the challenges I was facing as a teenager. he believed in what was good in me, and he had a feel for how to guide a talented and academically able young boy.
To the Holy Ghost Fathers and Fr. Caffrey, it is a deep and heartfelt gratitude to a member of the clergy who lived his faith in everything he did.
Rest In Peace Fr. Caffrey.
Bonitas, Disciplina, Scientia”
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