[VIDEO] The Lion of Muthurwa: Victor Wanyama releases emotional film
“They say it doesn’t matter where you come from, only where you’re going to. But if you come from Africa this is not true.”
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Those words from Wanyama in his short film released on YouTube pretty much summarize the typical life of an ambitious young African footballer – playing behind village backyards with dreams of one day making a big money move abroad.
“I come from a place called Muthurwa in Eastlands, Nairobi. I used to wake up every morning, take my ball and walk for up to 10 kilometers to go play with other kids. I used to play on bare feet and so did everyone else. We hurt our feet and shed blood many times but we kept going – we wanted better lives and nothing could stop us from achieving that dream,” he recollects.
The Southampton midfielder continues to describe how it felt owning his first pair of cleats which came when he was 10, saying how difficult it was to play in them.”
“It was hard to hard to get used to the boots. I had to adjust and try to use them but it wasn’t easy.”
At the age of 15, Wanyama received a call-up to the national team and in less than a year found himself making a switch to Europe, playing in Belgium and Scotland.
His current manager at Southampton, Ronald Koeman, has nothing but praise for the 24-year old.
“It’s a pleasure working with him. He is always on time and works hard in training. And I think that’s the difference between an African player and a European player – he knows what he has to do to come to the Premier League.”
Wanyama proceeds to encourage the millions of young footballers in Africa and Kenya, urging them to work harder and never to give up on their ambitions.
“You have to be a lion coming from that humble background. If you work hard dreams do come true so don’t fear anything.”
“For dreamers life has a way of getting better.”
Wanyama has had his memorable moments playing in top-flight football, thumping in a header against Bracelona during his time at Celtic as his side beat Barcelona 2-1 in 2012 and scoring from over 40 yards out against Hull at the KC Stadium.
Speaking about his first goal for Southampton, Wanyama says he could hardly get any sleep that night.
“I went to bed at 4am. I couldn’t sleep…I was amazed.”
Through hard work, dedication and believing in his dreams, Wanyama has defied the odds to become the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League and an inspiration to many young Kenyans.