LAST year was tough for London Nigerian RFC after they suffered relegation from London North-West Two – but reasons to be cheerful part one comes in the shape of a famous brand new coach.
Brimah Kebbie, who played for a number of top clubs in his career, replaces Roger Coombs bringing with him a steely determination to bring the club back to its former glory days.
Now a coach, Kebbie was a former Widnes Rugby League star, playing alongside Martin Offiah and Jonathan Davies and winning the World Club Championship with the club in 1989. He later played for St Helens, Huddersfield and Bradford Bulls, before switching to Rugby Union where he played for the London Saracens.
He also currently coaches university rugby at Imperial College. Now he's turning his hand to the 'Playas' at London Nigerian RFC to bring focus and discipline to the club.
"I took the job because I as a fellow West African – from Sierra Leone – felt a close affinity with the club,” he said. “I knew the club was at a low ebb, but recognised the committee's vision for where they want the club to be.
"There's definitely potential here for the boys to start again and try and work their way back up. We will get there. I'm determined to make sure that we're competitive this year."
After ending last season on a low, losing in the final of the Middlesex Bowl, the club spirit was recently rejuvenated after Playas, ex-Playas and supporters helped to raise the £19,000 it owed Hammersmith and Fulham Council or else lose its home at the Linford Christie Stadium, Du Cane Road.
Losing the club house would have posed a significant threat to the future of the club, but they rallied together to raise the money in just three weeks.
Kebbie and the team’s first test on the pitch is against Bank of England on Saturday (3pm) at Linford Christie Stadium, Du Cane Road, next to Wormwood Scrubs.
Club CEO Osahon Omokhodion said: “We would like to thank our sponsors First Bank Nigeria for their continued support, and also welcome our new partnership with MTXpress ( www.mtxpress.com ) who have sponsored our new coach’s salary throughout pre-season and over the next few months.”
Visit www.londonnigerian.com for more information.