Kelvin John optimistic of excelling in Belgium

20Jul 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Kelvin John optimistic of excelling in Belgium

THE name of young Tanzanian footballer, Kelvin John (aged 18), became known to the country's sports lovers through his craftsmanship, while he was playing for the country's national U-17 and national U-20 sides.

Kelvin John

His talent has landed him a deal in the Belgium side, KRC Genk, he signed a three-year contract with the club.

John had started playing at a talent development center, known as Football House, located at Bwiru in Mwanza.

The center groomed the youngster before he joined Brooke House College Football Academy Center in Leicester City in the UK.

John recently signed a contract with Genk, Tanzania's senior national side skipper  Mbwana Samatta's former side.

John noted that playing for KRC Genk is more than a dream.

"I thank God this has ended safely and I am officially a legitimate player of Belgium's KRC Genk. It is more than a dream for me to stay here for three years and I ask Tanzanians to support me by motivating me so that I can achieve my goals," the youngster disclosed.

The forward, who also serves as national U-20 side's skipper, disclosed: "It was a statement that was hardly a surprise to me. I was aware a year ago I was unable to join this club due to age but after being told I'm eligible for registration I was very happy as I did not expect my position was reserved for the whole year.''

He noted: "Samatta is my role model, so far I have learned many things from him on the field, how he supports his team and how he supports the national team.''

He disclosed: "Genk is my new team and it is a team that my brother, Sammata, had played for. He has opened the doors to success. I want to go further than he has. That is why I have been following him.''

John moreover opened up on the message he received from Samatta a few hours after the former signed his contract with Genk, saying: "He said believes in my ability to put effort into my work and he believes I will do well.

According to John, he was emotional after getting Samatta's message, which reached him after he was officially announced as Genk's player.

He disclosed apart from the message Samatta sent him, he has as well been connecting him with the club leaders along with the team's senior players so that they can lead him well.

"I have been well received in Genk. I have been given enough cooperation. They believe in me. They know I will do a lot and I ask God to stand by my side and fulfill what they are relying on,'' he noted.

John further disclosed Belgium's weather has become a challenge for him.

The forward noted: ''I have lived in two different countries and I  have experienced a similar challenge in both...now I am in Genk, it is very cold, something that affects me, but I believe in change... I will adapt and see it as normal.''

The youngster added: "I grew up in Mwanza and I have often been there for a long time even during my vacations, the weather in Mwanza is completely different from the cold I experience in Genk, it is cold throughout.''

John says he sees himself thrive for more years in top-flight abroad.

The youngster disclosed: ''Every player has targeted to play outside Tanzania. Everyone wants to go further by playing professional football, so I make sure I do not give up so that I can achieve my dream and believe I can get where I want," he disclosed.

John added: "No one was expecting to either hear or see me play for Genk at this age. I have the effort, respect, and passion for this work, discipline is the secret, I feel that I will achieve success beyond these three years I have signed here.''

"In football, you can't say where you will be in the next few years, my efforts will hopefully help me move to a better and more competitive league after three years," the youngster stated.

John who has already made his debut for Taifa Stars has opened up on his pre-match rituals, saying he always prays to God to save him from sustaining an injury while he is playing and also prays that the youthful performer can score goals.

"A striker is an important player on the field but if every player gets a chance he can score, I can finish all 90 minutes in peace, I have to create a chance or score. If I don't do that I lack peace and I feel like I didn't do justice to the importance given to me on the field," he said.

Players choose the numbers for their jerseys for a variety of reasons and for John the situation is the same.

“I wear jersey number 10 because it is my birth date. I often use it as a reference. I decided to choose a date and not a month because for my mother it was a wonderful experience to give birth on that date,'' he said.

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