Once in a very long while, an athlete steps into the scene and make a difference in the lives of their fans and fellow athletes, inspire others to greatness and goes on to achieve success in another profession after their playing days are over.
Edward Rombo is such an athlete, and this is his story.
Regarded as the finest rugby player Kenya has ever produced, Edward Rombo was born in Nairobi on the 19th of March 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 contract with Leeds Rugby League Club in England, becoming the first Kenyan to play professional Rugby.
At the time Rugby Union was a strictly amateur sport and a break in the professional Rugby League was the dream of many international Union players. Rombo was signed by Leeds within a week of his two-week trial with Leeds, after playing in a friendly match and appearing for them at the Wigan Sevens.
At Leeds RLFC, Rombo played alongside John Gallagher, the ex-All Black Fullback and other players who had become household names in Rugby Union and moved to Rugby League.
While playing for Leeds Rugby League Club, Rombo enrolled at the University of Leeds to pursue a degree in Law.
Rombo would later sign up for Dewsbury and Featherstone Rugby League Clubs before returning to Kenya in 1999 to establish 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.