NIGERIA Rugby League have appointed former London Broncos and Harlequins forward Joe Mbu as their new head coach, as first revealed in this week’s League Express.
The 35-year-old was approached to take the role by Nigeria Rugby League Vice President and General Manager Ade Adebisi, who he played with at Doncaster and also coached at London Skolars.
Mbu, who is of Congolese descent, coached the Skolars between 2012 and 2015, having retired from playing in 2010 to take up a role with the Skolars’ Under-16s.
Prior to that, he made 101 appearances for London Broncos in Super League, playing also under the Harlequins moniker, while he also played for Huddersfield, Leeds Rhinos and Skolars during his Academy years.
But his latest expedition sees him venture to Africa to link up with his Nigerian-born former team-mate Adebisi in Nigeria, where last month the new Nigeria Rugby League organisation replaced the previous governing body as Observer members of the RLEF, following a number of inactive years by the old federation.
We’re delighted to appoint Joe,” said a statement given to League Express. “It’s great to have someone in the Head Coach role who is highly knowledgeable in playing and coaching. Joe has played at the top level of the domestic game in England, having risen through the ranks.
“His experience both as a player at Super League level, and as a coach for over nine years, is invaluable for the success of Nigeria, and in the promotion as well as the development of the game in the country.
“We have great potential to develop into a strong nation. With Joe we can now kick on and realise that potential. He will also be a brilliant role model for the players and coaches across all levels in the country.”
Mbu added: “I am excited and looking forward in leading the Nigeria national team. The country can be a strong nation in Rugby League, and I am looking forward to leading Nigeria to reach its full potential.”
Adebisi said: “I’m really happy Joe Mbu has decided to come on board as our head coach. His discipline, no nonsense attitude and ability to nurture talent are a few of the reasons why I think he is an excellent choice. Nigeria has a lot of potential and I’m excited for the future with him as coach.”