The Serbian Rugby League Federation has sadly announced the passing of Budimir Tomanović Tamba, one of the country’s rugby league pioneers.
He has died in Belgrade, at the age of 83.
Tamba founded the Radnički club in Serbia after being introduced to the game when French teams visited the country in 1953.
He was a student at Nikola Tesla high school, and it was from the ranks of students at teachers at that institution that he drew the players for the new club.
He captained the club in their game against Partizan, as well as organising first-ever Serbian rugby league match, held in Paraćin on April 25, 1954.
He wwas also the captain of first trophy-winning team in Serbian Rugby League when, in the finals of the Yugoslav National Army Cup, Tamba’s Radnički beat Partizan on December 21, 1954.
An innovative and respected coach, Tamba organised the first rugby league coaching clinic in Serbia, with his training methods considered revolutionary in wider Serbian sporting circles.
After rugby league was abolished in Serbia, he refused to participate in rugby union, and stayed loyal to the 13-man code, until it restarted in Serbia in 2001.
He had also retained a large amount of documents, photos and other important archive materal around the game’s origins, which he then passed on to the new Serbia Rugby League.
A true rugby league pioneer, all who knew of him will mourn his passing.