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There aren’t many football players who can say that their basketball coach was the reason they got into the game, but for Cauchy Muamba, that’s exactly how it happened.
Both Muamba’s father and coach had been saying that he should play football, but the 17-year-old wasn’t interesting in switching sports. So, his coach came up with a way to settle the decision.
“He actually challenged me to a basketball game and he told me that if I lost, I would go and play football. And as you can tell, I lost,” said Muamba, laughing.
The loss worked out in his favour. Muamba has been a member of the BC Lions football club for three years, after being drafted by the team in 2010, and won the Canadian Player of the Week honours for his performance in Sunday’s 24-5 win against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“It means a lot. Out of all of us, I was Canadian Player of the Week for that week. I want to do the same thing again,” he said. “It feels good. It feels relaxed. It feels like a release, a reward.”
The safety played a solid game against the Western Division rivals, picking up a tackle and two interceptions, his first multi-interception game and the first Lion to accomplish that since Ryan Phillips did in 2010 against the very same quarterback: Darian Durant.
Muamba gives a lot of credit to his veteran teammates, Dante Marsh in particular, saying that they’ve helped him consistently get better.
“It’s like having coaches on the field with you, because they know what they’re doing and they know what I’m supposed to do…The more I listen to them, the more plays I make,” said Muamba. “[Dante Marsh] tells me a lot of stuff. He helps me a lot on the field and off. He’ll tell me every morning when I get here, he always tells me, ‘Do you want to be good or do you want to be great?’”
The Lions’ defense has been great of late, having kept opponents out of the end zone in 13-straight quarters. Heading into Winnipeg on Friday, the club is looking to keep that streak going.
“We’ve got to keep the same intensity, the same humbleness that we had. And it’s a short week, so we’ve got to have a quick turnaround,” said Muamba.
Winnipeg is also home to his younger brother, Henoc, during the CFL season. The two were very close growing up and still talk every week about their games.
But when it comes to playing against him, Muamba said nothing is taken personally.
“It’s going to be a lot of emotions again, and at the same time, we both want to win. So, he’s going to be doing anything he can to win, and I’m going to do the exact same thing and hopefully I get the win,” he said.
When asked about trash talk and competition between the brothers, Muamba laughed and responded, “It would be good to have a good game, but I won’t stick it in to him. I mean, I have the Grey Cup already, so I won’t say anything to that.”
Looks like you just did, Cauchy.