JUNIOR NSEMBA is only 18 years old, but he is widely viewed as one of the most promising prospects on Wigan’s books.
And the young back row forward has admitted to League Express that he would love nothing more than one day to represent Cameroon, the country of his parents, or even the continent of Africa in the context of international representative Rugby League.
Nsemba was born and raised in Wigan after his parents left their homeland and settled in the town.
And from an early age their son was destined to be a sportsman.
“I started off with football but then found that I liked the contact in rugby,” Nsemba told League Express.
“My parents came to from Cameroon to seek better opportunities and I started playing when I was nine years old with Wigan St Judes and then I joined Wigan Warriors Scholarship and then the Academy.
“I made my debut against Hull KR last year, but this year I’m just focused on competing at training and trying my hardest. I want to compete against the best, so I hope to get a few runouts.”
In the longer term, Nsemba admits that the thought of playing in a Nines World Cup that included a team of players either born in Africa or with African heritage would hold great appeal.
“Yes, and I would love to be in it, if I had the opportunity,” he added.
“It would be great to combine with all those players who had that background from different African countries.”
Rugby League in Cameroon is currently expanding, having been played for the first time in the Douala region of the country recently when four men’s teams and four women’s sides contested 9s tournament in front of over 200 fans.
Cameroon national head coach, Khalil Njoya, commented: “The tournament was a great success, it was the first of its kind in the region and everyone involved loved what they saw. Although January is a tough month as everyone is just getting back to fitness after the holidays, we were able to make the Douala 9s a success and this allowed us to see what we will have to work on for the future. Next year we have the women’s MEA cup and the girls being this good so early on is telling us a lot.”
Nsemba would love to give his support to the game in his ancestral homeland.
“I have visited Cameroon, although not recently, but it’s a lovely place and it’s great to see that there is some rugby being played there.
“I would love to go back again to see what is happening.”