Interviews

Joel Tshibamba: The Dutch-Congo Warrior in pursuit of silverware

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The move to Singapore

It was perhaps telling that for someone who had played with at least 11 clubs before he joined Warriors, Tshibamba’s best moments in football had no mention of any silverwares.

It wasn’t because he didn’t enjoy winning; he simply had nothing to show for his efforts despite ploughing through the various leagues in Greece, Russia, China, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyrus and Denmark in the last six years.

Although I have played in the Champions League and Europa League, I have won nothing so I cannot say that this is a step down

- Tshibamba

Hence when Warriors came calling, Tshibamba was keen to jump on board after being convinced by the club’s plan to challenge for silverware.

“It is a new challenge here.  Although I have played in the Champions League and Europa League, I have won nothing so I cannot say that this is a step down,” Tshibamba said.

“Everything is an adventure for me. This is a new country and it is a new occasion. It is a new way to show who I am and make a name for myself and to help the team as much as possible.”

The Warriors had never watched Tshibamba play live before and instead turned to online footballing database application, InStat, to scout him using video replays and statistics before inviting him to Singapore.

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Warriors recruited Tshibamba through unconventional means

This was a huge risk, in addition to his own admission of being a disruptive presence at N.E.C.

But Tshibamba was adamant that he has grown up since his N.E.C days and was keen to repay the Warrior’s trust in him.

This is a new year and there are new chances. It is not like a holiday for me, I came to work and help as much as possible

- Tshibamba

“You know when you’re young, you have the energy, desire and fire to play,” he admitted. “Maybe sometimes I should have listened more and taken a step back but when you’re young, you want to play every game.

“The guys at Warriors are treating me good and adapting has been easier for me. I am excited to start my own part for the team.

“This is a new year and there are new chances. It is not like a holiday for me, I came to work and help as much as possible.”

Now, veering away from the proverbial spotlight, Tshibamba wants to put the past to bed and focus on what is yet to come with Singapore’s most successful S.League club.

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Tshibamba has found it easy to adapt so far

The first step of adapting to a new league came off to a refreshing start when the striker’s first agenda was to feast on a plate of nasi lemak when he landed in Singapore.

Language is no barrier for Tshibamba, who was born in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the striker is fluent in six languages – his mother tongue Lingala, English, Dutch, German, French and Greek.

The cultural exposure, mixed with an open mind, has allowed the striker to ease into the multi-cultural Warriors team.

This was pretty evident during a training session, when his teammates mercilessly bantered with him after he had scuffed a free-kick badly.

Amid his teammates' chats of ‘no more free-kicks for you’ and ‘you are banned from free-kicks’, Tshibamba said: “Yeah, I kicked the ground and now I will be hearing this for the next few weeks!”

Aside from kicking it, Warriors’ fans and team-mates alike will be wishing that the forward can also hit the ground running for a fruitful 2017 season.

Photos: S.League (Unless stated otherwise)