Lumumba Currie is the FNB University of Fort Hare Blues Rugby Club assistant coach who recently won the National Heritage Tournament that was held at Fort Hare University's Alice Campus.
He was in full control of the campaign to win the tournament from the planning stages to the glory moments when University of Fort Hare beat Mighty Greens from North West Province.
grassrootsrugby.co.za had a chat with this promising young coach and this is what he had to say:
GR: Tell us a little bit about yourself Lumumba.
LC: "I am a local boy born and bred in the Eastern Cape. I stay in Alice in a village called Lower Ggumahashe which is 7km outside the town. We are a sport-loving family at home, with my late father, Raymond Currie, being a well-known rugby and cricket player himself. Throughout my youth days, I played cricket and rugby, obtaining full provincial colors at school level for Border and EP. I studied at Nzululwazi High school and I am now currently with UNISA."
GR: Where did you play most of your rugby?
LC: "I played for the University of Fort Hare while I was still at Fort Hare: this was obviously before Boksmart started (he laughs), otherwise I was not going to be allowed to play at all. I played for the second team initially, then I was drafted into the first team and I grabbed that opportunity with both hands."
GR: What position did you play and what other responsibilities did you have as a player?
LC: "I played lock and flank throughout my rugby career. I captained most of the teams I played for - including the FNB UFH Blues Rugby Club. Obviously, for me it was special to captain the FNB UFH Blues and the best memories are the 2009 season when Mr Elliot Fana (current Director of Rugby and head coach) arrived at Fort Hare. We won all our league games in the Border Premier League - Rural Section and were promoted to the urban section. This was indeed the turning point of rugby at Fort Hare. We started believing on ourselves more than before and we really became a force to be reckoned with in Border Rugby. We won the 2009 Heritage Tournament and finished the season on a high note."
GR: How did you end up being a coach?
LC: "The University had one coach and whenever he was busy with the backs I had to keep the forwards busy. This was the same situation at school as well. I coached the U21 at the club and won the BRFU league in 2009 and at the end of that season one of the first team coaches left the University. I was then approached by the rugby powers at our institution to take the vacant post and I did. It is worth mentioning that Mr Lefty Dakuse was instrumental to me in the initial stages of my coaching career and I am really grateful for the lessons he taught me. On the other hand, I cannot express enough at just how lucky I am to work side by side with Mr Elliot Fana, who possesses vast knowledge of the modern rugby game and is always willing to pass on the knowledge. I am really of the opinion that 'we', Fort Hare University, are lucky to have obtained the services of such a quality coach, who is also an IRB Educator."
GR: Were you the head coach for the Heritage Tournament?
LC: "Yes, I was the head coach from last year already. Elliot threw me in the deep end last year and informed me that I was going to be in charge of the team and this will give me exposure to exercise my options as I see fit. The idea was to provoke my rugby thoughts as a coach. I coached the team and we ended up second last year and I was very pleased with the results. This year we went all the way and won the tournament and I am proud of how the boys performed."
GR: Are you enjoying the job?
LC: "Well let me put it this way: there are highs and lows in rugby, but at the present moment, for me, there are more highs than lows. So I am currently enjoying the start I have had in the office with the boys and hopefully, when the lows come, I will be able to deal with them."
GR: Now that the 2011 rugby season is over what activities are you involved in?
LC: "We are now busy with player assessments and the off-season preparations and we are doing community outreach at the schools. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all the people that supported us in 2011 and we really appreciate your support. Also thanks to GR for having a chat with me."