United Kingdom: David Izinyon, Glen Toonga show vast improvement at virtual CFL Global Combine

As the virtual CFL Global Combine continues to do the rounds, David Izinyon, Kadel King, Glen Mbeleg-Toonga and Keanu Ebanks represent the United Kingdom.

With Keanu Ebanks submitting his workout with the Swedish cohort and Kadel King unable to participate, David Izinyon and Glen Mbeleg-Toonga were the only two athletes running a combine in London.

Both Izinyon and Mbeleg-Toonga attended the 2020 CFL Global Combine. Izinyon received a sizable amount of attention due to his sheer size and athleticism leading to an invite to attend the CFL combine set to take place in Toronto. But due to the pandemic both the season and combine were unfortunately canceled. 

The pandemic adversely affected both athletes, making preparation for testing difficult. The British athletes were however fortunate to receive an elite athlete pass from the CFL allowing them to train in gyms and sports facilities during the lockdown.

Izinyon had this to say on training during the pandemic:

“Covid you’re really starting to piss me off. Can’t do anything because of Covid. It affected training massively at the start but BAFA helped us to get a pass so we could train properly. I’m currently training at the England Badminton team’s gym in Milton Keynes.”

Both Izinyon and Mbeleg-Toonga improved massively from last year’s testing (Click image to enlarge, 2020 tests results listed first):

The combine took place over five days but with only three days of actual testing. Each exercise had to be filmed zooming in on the stopwatch in one take that was then sent over to the CFL for certification. Both Mbeleg-Toonga and Izinyon have a strong cast supporting them with agent INS management providing all the tools needed to prepare for the combine. 

Izinyon has already interviewed with CFL teams – Ottawa Redblacks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes – but is expecting to hear from others in the coming weeks prior to the 15 April draft. But these are not the only teams interested in Izinyon. After a number of strong seasons in the European leagues showing what a thumper he is, GFL teams as well as the newly founded ELF have been in contact. Izinyon has said he is not willing to entertain any talks at the moment as his sights are clearly set on the CFL.

Mbeleg-Toonga had this to say about the combine:

“The Combine was fun, all the hard work and preparation we had put in prior to the days meant that on the day we could enjoy the experience and just really leave it all out there”

With 36 spots up for grabs in the 2021 Global Draft and a pool of nearly 300 athletes, Izinyon and Mbeleg-Toonga are confident they will get a shot to compete in the 2021 CFL season.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.