AKIM DICK takes no prisoners when on the rugby pitch and is nicknamed Boko Haram because of this modus operandi.
When watching the 19-year-old play in his favourite lock position one is tempted to think that Dick has been playing rugby for most his life.
But this is a story of a lad who was introduced to rugby just two years ago.
Dick’s first encounter with the rugby ball came in 2015 at George Stark High School where a friend suggested that they play rugby in their spare time.
Although hesitant at first, Dick decided to give it a go.
One day, Sables winger and Mbare Select coach Stephen Hunduza passed through where Dick and his peers were playing the game and did not need a second opinion — he immediately knew he had come across a rough diamond. Hunduza urged Dick to go and try his luck at Churchill High School’s rugby trials. The Bulldog’s coaches were charmed by the teenager’s “composure when in possession and great balance” and immediately snapped him up.
Although he had the talent, Dick was far from being fit and his first game taught him a valuable lesson.
“The first time I played a competitive game was against the Tigers (Prince Edward) at Dairibord (Schools Rugby Festival). We won that game and I enjoyed it so much but I was in a lot of pain after the game because it was a tough encounter.
“I almost cried and for a moment thought of going back to soccer but I knew that soldiering on would bring me happiness so I kept pushing,” recalled Dick.
With their new man finding his groove, Churchill stitched together an unbeaten season and Dick made the Young Sables squad for the Junior World Cup.
“That was my proudest moment,” said the Mbare Select lock.
“When I went for the Under-20 trials my thinking was that doing so would help me keep fit, I told myself there was no way I could compete with guys who started playing the game at primary school. “After the last session we were made to gather around the coaches as they announced the team and to be honest I never paid attention, I was busy thinking about going home and hanging out with my boys.
“Then I heard my name being called but remained seated. I thought they had made a mistake, it wasn’t. It dawned on me that I had made the team when I was asked to bring my passport.”
In the less than two years that Dick has been playing rugby, the lad has worn national colours, has played for Pitbulls in the Under 21 championships and inspired Mbare Select to some notable victories.
Churchill coach Bob Mahari reckons this meteoric rise is powered by Dick’s athletic genes.
“Akim can probably play any sport he commits to because he has got very good balance and footwork. In addition to all that, he is a hardworking and well-mannered kid,” said Mahari.
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