Mighty dreams of what could have been
HE grew up kicking a football with some of the future stars of the Cameroon World Cup side in Africa.
And, if it was not for injury problems, Mighty Simeu says he may have been lining up with them on Saturday when they faced Denmark.
Instead, the Cameroon-born Peterborough student was left to follow his team’s valiant exit from the World Cup on TV.
Mighty (29) remembers how his passion for the beautiful game started when he was a child in his home town of Douala, western Cameroon.
He said: “I used to play football when I was growing up. Everyone did in Cameroon. I played for a team, but I had knee and ankle problems, otherwise, I might have gone on to play professionally.
“I grew up with some of the Cameroon players, people like Samuel Eto’o and Pierre Wome and we had friends in common.
“I play for fun now. I think I’m a bit too old to play for a team.”
Mighty, of Ratcliffe Court, Welland, came to Peterborough four years ago to study. He is currently taking an ICT and business course at Peterborough Regional College and would like to work as a journalist.
One of his earliest World Cup memories is watching Cameroon reach the quarter finals in 1990, before being beaten by England in extra time.
He said: “I was very young, but I still remember it. It was Cameroon’s best performance ever in a World Cup and people who talk about Cameroon’s chances now always talk about 1990.”
But he doesn’t bear any grudges against the Three Lions for the defeat and – after Cameroon and the other African teams – he supports England.
He believes Cameroon were unlucky to be the first team knocked out of the tournament, after losing their opening game against Japan and Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Denmark. He said: “I was very disappointed. You expect Cameroon to do well.
“It’s the first time they’ve lost their opening game. They played well against Denmark but it wasn’t to be.”
And he is delighted that the most prestigious sporting contest in the world is being hosted on African soil for the first time.
“It’s great the World Cup is in Africa,” he said. “It’s part of history and a dream come true for me.”
MIGHTY PROUD: Mighty Simeu, who grew up with some of Cameroon’s World Cup squad, is backing them to reach the final. (METP-18-06-10PF018)