Sudanese flyer links with Ipswich Jets
RUGBY league isn't big in Sudan.
But that is all set to change if new Ipswich Jets recruit Chol Chol gets his way.
The 18-year-old winger is turning heads at Jets training with his speed and athleticism after his skills were fine tuned at Ipswich State High, where he played for the top side in 2015.
It has been some journey for Chol from war torn Sudan, to Auckland and then Ipswich.
Chol spoke to the QT at Jets training and said he still had to pinch himself that he had the opportunity.
"I just never knew I would be playing footy," Chol said.
"It still buzzes me up every time I get to train and play, just realising that in my country Sudan no-one plays this...no-one.
"In Kenya they play sevens rugby, but not league."
Chol left his African homeland with his mum as a youth when the country was in the midst of a 22-year-long civil war.
The family settled in New Zealand where he was a boarder at rugby union school Wesley College, the alma mater of the late and great All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu.
It was there that he forged a love of rugby union and, drawn by the dazzling skills of Shaun Johnson and Ben Barba, ultimately rugby league.
"It was tough in Sudan, so my mum went to New Zealand for a better life," Chol said.
"I started playing footy with the Islander boys when I was eight and loved it.
"I'd play backyard footy with them and picked it up from there.
"I played union at Wesley and started playing league with an Auckland team when I left in Year 11.
"Then I went to Ippy High on a scholarship and played league in the Super Six. Now...here I am.
"Rugby league is fun to me. It is a passion. I just love the people I meet and I love to play."