Edward Rombo: The Legacy Of The First Kenyan To Play Professional Rugby

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Edward Rombo: The Legacy Of The First Kenyan To Play Professional Rugby
Photocredit/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Edward Rombo (Eddy) is a former Kenyan professional rugby player. He is considered one of the best rugby players Kenya has ever produced. The former player made history and put Kenyan rugby on the global map by becoming the first player from the country to be signed internationally. His prowess on the pitch was undeniable and it was just a matter of when. After his conquest in Kenya, he went on to play in the international arena with some of the world’s best players including John Gallagher, the ex All Black Fullback. 

This is the story of a trendsetter  who re-defined and set the bar high in Kenya Rugby as told by WoK

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Background and Education 

He was born in Nairobi in March 1967. Eddy went on to attend Lavington Primary School followed by Nairobi School. Rombo showed his glimpse of talent in 1983 during a game between Nairobi School and Lenana School. The winner of the match was to play the finals with RVA at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA) to decide the winner of the 1983 Prescott Cup. During the previous season, Lenana School had whitewashed Nairobi School, 22-0. Lenana were confident of their win and it is reported the school’s management had printed out a schedule showing the departure time of the school bus to RFUEA ground.

Enter Edward Rombo, with no one paying attention to him, he snatches the ball from a Lenana player and sprints to score a try for Nairobi School. The mood changes, Lenana fans are shocked while Nairobi School players gain the strength and momentum and go on to massacre their opponents. The game ends with 27-9 in the favor of Nairobi School and in Edward Rombo a star is born. 

He captained the Nairobi School rugby team of 1986 and also captained the Kenya Combined Schools and was selected to play for Kenya B team. During his high school days, he also played for Barclays RFC and helped them in the Kenya cup in 1987.

After high school, he was admitted to the University of Nairobi and joined Mean Machine RFC and helped them to win the Kenya cup in 1987. In 1989, he served as the team’s captain. 

Edward Rombo: The Legacy Of The First Kenyan To Play Professional Rugby

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Professional Rugby 

In 1990, he was voted the best player at the Singapore tournament. This was when he was playing for Watembezi Pacesetters VII at the Singapore Cricket Club Rugby Sevens. 

He talent was obvious and he was invited for a tryout at Leeds. He appeared in a friendly match with Wigan Sevens. So impressive was his performance that Leads and many other teams were ready to sign him. He was signed by Leeds within a week of his two weeks trial. 

While playing rugby, he took the opportunity to pursue a law degree at the University of Leeds.

The talented player moved back to Kenya in 1999 and played for Mwamba RFC until 2003. He then became the manager of the Kenya Sevens team and has also previously served as director on the Kenya Rugby Football Union Board.

Eddy Rombo is also the proprietor of a law firm named Rombo and Associates.

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