Muamba brothers get their act together with Bombers, Lions

Henoc Muamba (right) and Cauchy Muamba pose at last year's Grey Cup. (Handout)

Henoc Muamba (right) and Cauchy Muamba pose at last year's Grey Cup. (Handout)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Were it not for Gary Waterman, Henoc and Cauchy Muamba might have never set foot on a football field.

Never mind advancing to the CFL.

The stage was set, oddly enough, on a basketball court.

Cauchy, the oldest of three brothers who immigrated with their parents from Congo, put his skills on the line against Waterman, his teacher and basketball coach at Father Michael Gates High School in Mississauga, Ont.

“We actually got pushed into (football),” Cauchy, who is 18 months older than Henoc, recalled on Thursday after the B.C. Lions touched down in Winnipeg for Friday’s game against the Blue Bombers. “(Waterman) challenged me to a basketball game and he told me if I lost, I would be playing football. I never stopped playing ever since. I thank him for that all the time.”

Henoc remembered taking a simplistic approach in those early days.

“We started on offence at running back and receiver but also played defensive halfback,” said Henoc, the first overall pick in the 2011 CFL Canadian Draft. “We didn’t really know the rules. It was a matter of getting the ball and running. Don’t get hit. It was pretty simple.

“Once we started taking football seriously, actually training for it and learning in the film room, that’s when our growth really began. We’ve always been pushing each other and trying to help each other out as much as we can.”

On Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium, the Muamba brothers will take to the field for another exciting matchup, but one thing will be markedly different.

They’ve taken their respective games to the next level, graduating from special teams to the starting lineup.

Henoc will be at middle linebacker, while Cauchy holds down the safety job on one of the top defences in the CFL.

As competitive as the Muamba brothers are with one another, there’s one important rule that is strictly enforced.

Trash talk is forbidden. Mother’s orders.

“It’s hard for us to be rivals,” said Henoc. “I can’t say anything bad about (Cauchy). If I do and (mom) hears about it, she’ll start yelling at me.”

Friday’s game marks the second time that Germain and his wife Louise will attend a CFL game together, the first since the 2011 Grey Cup in Vancouver.

They’ll be easy to spot, since both will be wearing matching Muamba jerseys that show the Lions’ and Blue Bombers’ team colours split right down the middle, a gift from Henoc and Cauchy.

“It’s a pleasure to see them on the same field,” said Germain. “This is a blessing.”

Henoc and Cauchy still play basketball against one another.

So, who has more game on the hardwood?

“I think I’m more versatile,” said Henoc. “I’m more like LeBron (James) and he thinks he’s Kobe Bryant. We all know LeBron is better.”

“Like LeBron, (Henoc) was the first overall pick, but I have more rings than him,” added Cauchy. “That’s where it stops. When I say that, the conversation is done and we move on.”

A ring isn’t on the line Friday, but family bragging rights are.

 

Up Close and Personal

LB Henoc Muamba

CFL seasons: 2

2012 stats: 7 GP, 17 tackles, 6 special teams tackles

Career stats: 18 GP, 17 tackles, 21 special teams tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD

First overall pick in 2011 CFL Canadian Draft

Cauchy Muamba

CFL seasons: 3

2012 stats: 15 tackles, 2 INT

Career stats: 26 GP, 20 tackles, 10 special teams tackles, 3 INT

Fifth round pick (34th overall) in the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft

 


Photos