Two brothers who used to play against each other in the CFL have been united on one team and are set to play their first regular-season game together Thursday night.
Henoc and Cauchy Muamba are no strangers to playing on the same field — but until now, the brothers have played for opposing teams.
At the 2011 Grey Cup, Henoc, a linebacker, wore a Blue Bombers jersey while his brother Cauchy, a safety, donned B.C. Lions digs.
"It was really a bonding experience, but at the same time, we were going against each other," said Henoc.
Their parents sat in the crowd wearing half-Lions half-Bombers jerseys.
"It was not easy. When the Blue Bombers had the ball, we had to shout. When the B.C. Lions had the ball, we had to shout," said their mother Louise.
But the silver lining, according to their father Germain, was "at the end, we were there knowing we’ll get the cup."
'We want to make each other better, not only on the field, but you know, we want to make each other better men as a whole' —Cauchy Muamba, Winnipeg Blue Bomber
Earlier this year, Cauchy was picked up by the Bombers, and now the brothers are wearing blue and gold. The brothers are happy to be playing together — and according to at least one of them, they’re not only brothers but best friends.
"We’re definitely best friends," said Cauchy before the Bomber’s first regular season game on Thursday. Henoc interrupted him -- "Are we?"
"Yeah, we are. We are. We’re always together, and we’re close. We want to make each other better, not only on the field, but you know, we want to make each other better men as a whole," said Cauchy.
The Muamba family hasn’t always had their eye on football. The boys grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo before arriving in Montreal in the 1990s.
In high school, Cauchy was more interested in basketball until their coach, Gary Waterman, challenged him to a game of one-on-one.
"I said to him, 'Why don’t we go one-on-one, and if I beat you, you have to play [football], and if you win, I won’t bother you anymore,'" said Waterman. "I think that’s the one time I ever beat him. I really wanted it."
The pair went on to take computer science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Waterman had become the head football coach there and recruited the brothers.
"That’s how I got forced to play football. Ever since then, I haven’t looked back," said Cauchy.
"Nobody saw it coming, but this is just God’s plan. So we are very grateful to God and just pleased for this," said their mom, Louise.
"They know that nothing is impossible if you believe you can make it," added Germain.
Henoc said the ongoing support from his family, and especially Cauchy, has helped him excel on the field.
"He’s always motivated me to get better, and I think I’ve done the same to him," said Henoc.
On Thursday night, their parents will be watching and cheering on the Bombers from their Mississauga, Ont. home. Louise will don Cauchy’s number, three, and Germain will wear number 10, Henock’s number.
"We just pick them. We don’t make a choice. I’m the one who picked first!" said Lousie.
"First come, first served!" added Germain.
Now the parents are hoping their sons can help the Bombers serve up a win for Winnipeg Thursday.
The Bombers are set to take the field against the Montreal Alouettes at 8 p.m., after opening ceremonies marking the official opening of the Bombers' new stadium, Investors Group Field.