Fieldoo is introducing Takura Mtandari, former defensive midfielder of the Tottenham Hotspurs and a Fieldoo power user searching for a new club.
Takura is currently a free player that is playing for a local team from his area – Banbury United FC – that is made up of ex professionals from Chelsea, West Ham, and Arsenal etc. They are playing against clubs from all around England, from the Premier League to the Conference (5th league) teams, trying to secure contracts in that way. Since leaving the Spurs Takura went to Norwich City FC and was due to sign a contract with the club but the day he was due to put pen to paper the manager got sacked which stalled the deal and eventually the deal collapsed. Since then Takura has been abroad to FC Eindhoven (the Netherlands), FC Charleroi (Belgium), and FC Istres (France) and has unfortunately not been able to agree terms for reasons out of his control. He got selected as a semi-finalist of the Minguella Challenge.
Describe yourself as a footballer? How do you remember your beginnings? Why football at all?
As a player I consider myself to be a technical player. Being only 5’9 (around 175 cm) and with 77 kg I am not the tallest or biggest player and therefore I have to rely on my technical ability and my ball manipulation to dominate my opponent. I love passing and keeping the ball. I like to watch players like Iniesta and Thiago Alacantra as I can relate to their individual styles of play. My earliest memories in football are the hours I used to play in my back garden with my elder brother, the competition was so intense. I was fortunate enough to be spotted by Tottenham Hotspur playing for my primary school team. I was the youngest player on the field at 8 years old, playing in the 11 year old team. From then on I was able to play for Spurs for 10+ years. My dad played football back in Africa and when he came to England his love for the game remained and he installed his beliefs and love of football into me.
Are you a footballer and would like to connect with Takura Mtandari?
Football is the English national sport? Do you think your national team can once again achieve worldwide success? What needs to be improved to do that?
Yes, England is the home of football. The state of the game at this current moment is just such a shame. At the moment in world football there’s a massive emphasis on possession, passing, movement, technical ability and flair (Tika-Taka). Some would say that England is just so far behind the rest of the world in those aspects. With the current top players in the national team at the moment, they have a number of players that can win any game, but as a team it all just doesn’t seem to click. The rest of the world simply believes that the English are just big and physical and that all we have is that famous “English Heart”. But I know this isn’t true, I have played with and against some amazing young players that just didn’t suit the physicality of the leagues and now find it hard to make it into a club. The technical players are out there but managers are too frightened to lose their job and so they won’t take the risk on that beautiful style of football. They would rather play with tall, big, more experienced players that can play that ugly direct football which has become effective but ugly on the eye. The manager/coaches mentalities need to change before any other change can be made.
Did you ever count how many times you juggled the ball? What was your highest number?
I don’t really juggle the ball any more. Only when I am warming up but that’s not to count how many I can do, it is just to prepare for a game/training. I used to love kick ups I remember getting up to 250 when I was younger but that’s the most I have ever done.
Moving from the football to the internet … Why did you decide to join Fieldoo, the Football Career Network for players & agents? Who would you recommend it to?
I joined Fieldoo after it was recommended to me by my friend who came across it on Twitter. It’s a different way to get my name out there and network with agents and that’s most important at the moment.
Who would be your pick: Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Why? Would you rather choose some other player from England or clubs you played in for example?
This is a hard one. Messi has been touched by God and given an ability that has never been seen before. On the other end of the spectrum you have Ronaldo who has built himself in every aspect to be the complete player he is today. If I had to choose it would be Ronaldo because he is the ultimate athlete and if I was constructing the perfect footballer it would be closer to Ronaldo. I think Gerard Piqué was spot on when he said: “Ronaldo is the best player in the world but only among humans, Messi is not from this planet,” and I have to agree with that.
What’s your biggest football success so far?
My biggest success so far would be winning all the youth tournaments that I have managed to win. Also captaining the Tottenham Hotspur reserve side in my last season there as a player was a nice moment. I’m here not to dwell on those moments but to create even greater success and amazing memories.
Are you a football agent and would like to connect with Takura Mtandari?
What do you think about the Minguella Challenge – a way of searching for the new Messi through Fieldoo?
I think the challenge is amazing and very unique. Having always loved Spanish football myself and the style of the league I have always wanted a chance to play there, but so far I have not figured out how to make it happen. It allows a different path into football and gives the player a massive confidence boost to know the same man that saw potential in Lionel Messi also sees potential in other players. I’m just hoping he isn’t looking just for the “younger” players that are still in their teens and have much more time to develop. Being 23 I am confident to go into any trial/team and perform straight away. All I need is the opportunity.
Last question: do you remember the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a football field?
The funniest thing I can think of? At a tournament abroad with Tottenham we were in the cup final and the team we were playing against had scored a lucky goal after we had dominated the first half. Whilst the team were celebrating, a team mate of mine ran to collect the ball from our goal and was screaming: “Come on boys, it’s only one goal!” He placed the ball on the halfway line and said: “Quick, let’s take a quick one, they’re not watching.” He passed the ball to himself and tried to run and score. He was then genuinely surprised when the referee blew his whistle and told him he was unable to do that. It was funny because these are the basics rules in football that we learn as kids and the fact that at the age of 19 he never knew you couldn’t take a ‘quick kick off’. He honestly thought that because if you could take a quick free kick you could take a quick kick off and was protesting to the referee. It was hilarious. We went on to win the game with 4:1.