Fortune urges young footballers to dream big

FORMER Manchester United and Atletico Madrid star Quinton Fortune has encouraged young footballers and Rwandan kids not to give up on their dream of playing in top European clubs.
Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune [R] with William Mwiseneza, DHL’s Rwanda Customer Service Supervisor on arrival at Kigali International Airport.   The New Times /J. Mbanda.
Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune [R] with William Mwiseneza, DHL’s Rwanda Customer Service Supervisor on arrival at Kigali International Airport. The New Times /J. Mbanda.

FORMER Manchester United and Atletico Madrid star Quinton Fortune has encouraged young footballers and Rwandan kids not to give up on their dream of playing in top European clubs.

The former South African international made the remarks yesterday at Kigali International Airport on arrival for a three-day tour sponsored by DHL, United’s official logistics partners.

In an exclusive interview with Times Sport, Fortune said, “I have been travelling to different African countries and am here to speak about my life and career at Manchester United.”

“I want to share my story with kids here in Rwanda..I want to give them some words of hope such that they can also achieve what I have achieved in my life and hopefully they can do more.”

“Well I hope they can see me and know that am an African, that I came from Cape Town and ended up playing for Manchester United. I used to tell other people wherever I have passed that if George Weah had come to South Africa to talk to us, I would have listened to every word because he is one of the African players that I remember that went to play for the great Milan and he inspired me.”

“And hopefully being here to speak to young Rwandan kids is to show them that it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you have the ability and desire to work hard and sacrifice, there is a lot you will achieve.”

“I left my family at 14 and went to play in England and am a living proof that everything is possible and I hope I can share my story and inspire them and be able to see a Rwandan footballer playing in one of the top European clubs in future,” added Fortune.

Fortune, who left South Africa at the age of 14 and moved to England where he played for the Tottenham Hotspur junior team, noted that it is more than a dream for him to move to England at that age to play football. The former Manchester United star remarked that it was beyond his dream to play for Manchester United, adding that leaving his family at the age of 14 was a sacrifice, and thanked his family. Asked how hard it is for an African footballer to make it in Europe, Fortune said, “It is hard for anyone, it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you have the ability, the right mentality that you want to suceed and work hard, then you will make it.” “It doesnt matter whether you come from Africa, Asia or any part of the world, if you are willing to work hard and sacrifice a lot, then doors are open for you to go in but the problem is to get right players from Africa and even the opportunity is not easy.” Then asked about what hinders African football from excelling, he highligted management and structures
. “We have problems with structures. In South africa, we have got unbelievable facilities since 2010 World Cup but unfortunately, we have strange people running our football.

“But if any nation had better structures and good mentality from managers, then there would be hope for their footballers and teams to develop to a pleasing level.”

Fortune also described Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to quit his role as the coach of Manchester United at the end of this season as shocking after almost 27 years in charge at Old Trafford. “Ferguson’s replacement has been in the Premier league for ten years, he is a young manager and hungry for victory. I am sure Sir Alex Ferguson played a big role in appointing David Moyes, so he knows his character and desire because you need a lot of determination and desire to succeed at Manchester United.”

Fortune begins his tour today and is expected to visit Genocide survivors in Nyaruguru, before heading to Play for Hope soccer academy in Masaka. In the afternoon, he is scheduled to visit the South African High Commissioner in Kacyiru.

Later he will visit Kigali Genocide Memorial site before heading to Serena Hotel where soccer fans and guests will have the opportunity to meet him. The star will sign autographs and memorabilia and discuss what has made Manchester United a success. This is evident with its 659 million supporters worldwide of which 173 million are in Africa and the Middle East alone.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News