Offenbach – Lutho Kote is often referred to as a human wrecking ball in the world of rugby. However, when the burly forward for the first-division club Offenbacher SC Rosenhöhe talks about what happened during the winter break of the past season, his voice becomes shaky. “That really broke me as a person back then and still brings tears to my eyes today,” says the South African.
His compatriot, Wynston Cameron-Dow, who was the coach of OSCR at the time, had dismissed Kote at the beginning of the year. It was stated that the contract was terminated due to differences. The player still can’t understand why it happened. “There was no reason to kick me out. I am an absolute team player. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had. Even though I was disappointed, I didn’t say a word about the matter and continued to train on my own.” It paid off. Several weeks later, the controversial Cameron-Dow left the club. The former captain, Robert Haase, became player-coach and approached Kote: “When Robert asked me, I immediately said, ‘I’m ready.'” The man wearing jersey number eight made his comeback in the derby against RK Heusenstamm and was named “Man of the Match” in the 27-20 home victory.
“Offenbach is my sporting home. It’s an honor for me to be the captain. The club has given me a lot, and now I’m giving back,” says Kote. He leads by example on the field. Furthermore, he recently introduced his club to fellow countryman Matt Coenraad (22), a promising talent in the forward position. This is because, since the beginning of the year, the semi-pro has been running a platform with his German wife, Jennifer, that helps foreigners who want to come to Germany navigate the bureaucratic hurdles. “It wasn’t easy for me back then, and many people are in the same situation,” says the 31-year-old, who has been playing in the Bundesliga for four years now and has applied for German citizenship: “I like it here, I love the country.”
From the township to the wider world He grew up in South Africa in a “forgotten village,” as he puts it. “There was a lot of crime, but my childhood was still beautiful.” Nevertheless, Kote emphasizes, “Rugby helped me get through life.” As a student, the robust young man was discovered, eventually attended a rugby school, became a professional, and then moved to Europe. He came to SC Frankfurt 1880 via the Netherlands, with whom he became the German champion, and joined OSCR two years ago.
“Rugby has shown me the world,” says the man who has always been a forward. These are the players who throw themselves into the fray. “Rugby is like war on the field, but it’s also a gentleman’s sport. It’s like a brotherhood. We help each other on and off the field.”
Kote has big plans with OSCR. “We want the club to grow. We narrowly missed the quarter-finals last season. This time, we want to do better. And we want to bring homegrown talent to the forefront. Two youngsters have the potential to become German national players in three to five years.” The focus is on the league. OSCR will face the undefeated TSV Handschuhsheim on Saturday (4:00 PM), a team they suffered two defeats against last season. “We’ve learned from that,” says Kote. The first win (35:19 against Cologne) did the team good. “We are ready.”