VAVEL UK editor Salmaan Abbas had the opportunity to speak to the promising, young and talented Emmanuel Mbende, who currently plys his trade with the Dortmund U19's. In this interview, we spoke about his rise through Dortmund's youth ranks, his favourite player growing up and much more.
Who was your role model when you were younger?
“As you may imagine my favourite player when I was younger was Samuel Eto'o, who scored many goals in his career. He is a role model for every Cameroonian who is interested in football.”
Currently, who would you say is your favourite Dortmund first-team player and why?
“At the moment my favourite player for BVB is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He is an intelligent player who defeats his adversary with his dynamism and speed.”
Do you see yourself in Germany for the rest of your playing career, or would you be open to a move elsewhere as you mature?
“Of course I would like to stay here in Germany but I would also like to play abroad. Due to my physical stature I think that this would attract me the English football, the (Barclays premier league) which is different from how we play our football in Germany, fitting to the physical nature of that I am playing.”
What persuaded you to try and make it as a professional footballer?
"I had a strong idea that I wanted to become a footballer when I was young, I wouldn't say I was persuaded to become a footballer but there were certainly outside influences in my life that helped push me, for example my parents and close friends. The decision was ultimatley mine however."
If you didn't make it in football, what career would you be interested in now?
“If I did not take a football career I still would like to work in the field of football because I have got a lot of experience and you could say that the spirit of football runs through my veins. So I think that for example the job of a trainer would be the right one for me.”
Which stage of your youth level experience with Dortmund do you consider the most important?
“My first game with the U13s of BVB was the most important moment of my football career until now. It was a special experience to be allowed to wear the shirt you usually were supposed to see on TV. It made me proud but also a bit nervous. With time, you get used to that feeling but still every time you put on this shirt you give everything and you are willing to perform well every single time you play for your club.”
What are your goals? short-term? long-term?
“Of course my goal is to become a professional football player. At first I want to find a club this summer and my aim is to establish and bring constant performance in a professional football league. My short term goal is to become a professional footballer this summer and my long term goal is to play for the national team of my country Cameroon, as I think that any football player wants to play for their national team”
What area of your game do you think you need to improve the most?
“To reach my goals, I need to improve my quick passing game but in my opinion you always have to improve yourself in every area and work hard to become better each and every day. “
What are some of the hardest lessons you've learned as a Dortmund player?
“The most important things I learned is to never give up, to always believe in yourself and to try to give your best every time. There are also times you are not successful and especially then I, as a player for BVB, learned to work even harder and to give my best no matter how bad the situation seems to be.”
If you were to build your ultimate dream team, incl. retired players, who would be in it?
"Having in mind that this is a 4-3-3 formation, my dream team's defense would include Mamadou Sakho, Sergio Ramos, Raphaël Varane, and Rigobert Song.
Midfield would include Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and the one and only Ronaldinho.
The team would be completed with the experienced veterans' Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba, and Thierry Henry. I could explain my choices but I would be here all day, let their individual talent do the talking!"
Do you think there will ever be a manager as good and passionate as Klopp at Dortmund?
"I think Jürgen Klopp has done great for the club and it won´t be easy to find a new trainer as good as him. But there will be other trainers who are able to take this responsibility. In my opinion Tuchel is a good and experienced trainer who will be able to take Klopp´s position."
Have you ever had the feeling of playing at a full capacity Westfalenstadion? If not, describe the feelings rushing through you if you could play in that historic stadium?
"Unfortunately the possibility to play in this great stadium has not been offered yet. But I can imagine the awesome and indescribable feeling standing on the field knowing all the people are watching and supporting you, it must be an insane feeling, this would be a dream for me."
Say I wanted to become a footballer myself, what 3 things would you tell me that I should take as advice?
“Somebody who wants to become a football player should always remind themselves of these three aspects:
The first being ambition, if you have no ambition then you will find it hard to rise up the ranks of football; you have to have high self-confidence and have the will that you can be the best.
The second is discipline, as you get older you will find yourself maturing in a physical and mental sense, this applies to me also as being a defender, I have to keep myself mentally focused in order not to give away free kicks and picking up cards in games. There is also the sense that young football players will be looking up to you, and that promoting good sportsmanship and playing style will reverberate positively in the young footballer’s community.
The third is being hungry for success you need to be aware of the fact that it will never be easy and you have to sacrifice a lot of things. And most importantly: you should never rest on your success but always work hard to become better”
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview the next Cameroonian star, me and everyone at VAVEL UK wish you the best in your career!
"Haha no problem, it's been a pleasure!"