Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we look at Kazenga and Lomana LuaLua
Families in Football: Kazenga and Lomana LuaLua
Kazenga LuaLua moved to England when his brother Lomana was signed by Newcastle United and he joined the club’s youth academy before playing for the reserve side. His call up to the first team came in an FA Cup tie against Birmingham City in 2007 at just 16 years and 27 days of age.
He played in the youth team that had a good run in the 2005/06 FA Youth cup, reaching the semi-final stage but fell at the penultimate hurdle. His career at St James’ Park was sketchy at best and although he played a number of times for the first team, he never quite made the impact that he had hoped for. In the 2009 winter transfer window, he moved to Doncaster Rovers on loan until the end of that season but only managed four appearances.
His next loan spell came at Brighton & Hove Albion where he signed a one-month loan and then rejoined the club, again on loan, for four months in the summer of 2010. Kazenga had an impressive debut, scoring a 25-yard free kick and performing a double back flip that was to become his trademark celebration. Things were going well for LuaLua at Brighton but a broken leg that he suffered playing against Hartlepool United meant he returned to parent club Newcastle to begin his recovery.
When he did return and recover he played his first Premier League game of the season against Chelsea. Then in 2011, he would make it a hat trick of loan spells with Brighton before he finally signed a permanent deal with the south coast club in November of the same year. His most consistent season came in the 2014/15 campaign when he made 38 appearances in all competitions and scored four goals. Four goals seemed to be his target as he managed the same number of goals the following season, although in less appearances making just 22.
The 2016/17 season was a tough one for LuaLua and only managed five appearances as Brighton secured their place in the Premier League, and it was to be another winter loan transfer as he joined Queen Park Rangers for the remainder of the season. He rejoined on loan in January 2018 as he was not featuring for Brighton in the Premier League. Upon the expiration of that loan was, he was to have another winter move as he joined Newcastle’s rivals Sunderland.
Later that year, he joined Luton Town on loan before being released at the end of the 2020/22 season and he subsequently moved to Turkish club Genclerbirligi in July 2021.
Lomana LuaLua impressed early in his career playing for Colchester United where he scored an impressive 21 goals in 68 appearances and caught the eye of Newcastle United. The move never really worked out for him as he just could not find his way to become a first-team regular and after four seasons, his patience finally ran out and he moved on to Portsmouth.
Whilst at Portsmouth, he suffered with malaria and also disciplinary problems that marred his three seasons with the club. He would turn out for clubs in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey before he returned to English football with Blackpool during, which time he won the first of his 31 international caps for DR Congo. He represented his country at the African Cup of Nations four times in an 11 year spell.
Games Played Together and Against
Kazenga and Lomana LuaLua have never shared the same pitch during their professional football career. That said, Kazenga has faced cousin Yanick Bolasie three times in matches between Brighton and Crystal Palace. Lomana also faced Bolasie once in a match between Bristol City and Blackpool.
Lomana LuaLua set up the LuaLua Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which provides care for orphans.
Kazenga won promotion from League One on two occasions with Brighton and Luton respectively.
As well as the brothers both becoming players, their two cousins also became professional footballers. Trésor Kandol turned out for several Football League clubs while Yannick Bolasie is best known for his time in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and Everton.