Former Leeds winger Rombo named Kenyan national head coach

Eddie Rombo

Former Leeds winger Eddie Rombo has been appointed the first Kenya Rugby League head coach.

Recently formed Kenya Rugby League Federation (KRLF) announced the appointment of the former Kenyan Rugby Union international on Monday.

The 53-year-old was the first Kenyan to play Professional Rugby League when he signed up for Leeds in 1990 and also played for Dewsbury and Featherstone whilst in England.

He was born in Nairobi in 1967 and attended Lavington Primary School before joining Nairobi School, where he took up the game of rugby.

Rombo went on to captain the all-conquering Nairobi School rugby team of 1986, captained the Kenya Combined Schools was selected to play for Kenya B that year.

While at Nairobi School, Rombo played for Barclays RFC, helping them to win the Kenya Cup in 1987.

Rombo joined the University of Nairobi in 1987 and, as expected, turned out for that university’s rugby side, Mean Machine RFC, for whom he served as captain in 1989.

Between 1987 and 1990, Rombo played for Kenya XV as well as the select teams of Scorpions, KRFU Chairman’s XV and the Watembezi Pacesetters.

It was while playing for Watembezi Pacesetters VII at the Singapore Cricket Club Rugby Sevens in 1990 that Rombo caught the eyes of the rugby world, winning the award for Most Valuable Player.

That achievement earned Rombo a two week trial with Leeds RL and his performances in a friendly match and the Wigan Sevens earned him a professional contract, becoming the first Kenyan to play professional Rugby.

While playing for Leeds, Rombo enrolled at the University of Leeds to pursue a degree in Law and so in 1999 when he returned to Kenya he established his own law firm, Rombo and Associates.

Back in Kenya, Rombo switched codes and returned to rugby union, where he played for Mwamba RFC from 1999 to 2003, before taking on the role of manager of the Kenya Sevens team between 2003 and 2006.

He told “As a pioneer rugby league player from Kenya. I’m happy to play my part in ensuring the sports takes root in Kenya and have a strong National team hoping to take part in the future world cup,” said Rombo.

Rombo contends, League is a more simple game version and “my philosophy would be to utilize our natural running abilities and keep the ball a live as much as possible.”

KRLF intends to stage a 10-team tournament once the COVID-19 pandemic clears during which the national team will be picked.

This will be in readiness for the maiden Kenya Vs South Africa test match at the end of the year.