By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
Names:Ntui Etah Michael
Date of Birth: May 15, 1986
Position: Central Defender
Previous Clubs: Olympic of Muyuka, Victoria Shooting Stars, Mount Cameroon FC of Buea, Al Ahli of Tripoli, Astres of Douala, Petro Atletico of Luanda and Bravo FC of Marquis
Current Club: Super Delegates FC(USA)
Honours: Roger Milla Super Cup (Mount Cameroon FC), 2 Angolan League titles, 2 Angolan Super Cups (Petro Atletico) and Best defender in the Angolan League.
From Angola to the USA how did this happen?
Soccer in the USA is a little complicated, you need to be an established well known player or you have a well connected football Manager to come directly into a big club.
So I simply settled for what my contacts could get for me.
Let’s talk about your beginnings with Olympic of Muyuka..
I was in form three and was scouted by Coach Babatunde and that’s how I started playing for Olympic of Muyuka under coach Mbi Rocky.
I played for them for two years and received about 15,000frs over that period of time [he laughed].
Then Victoria Shooting Stars how did the move come about?
Atem Valentine proposed me to the then President Bonu Innocent, and I was invited to train with the team and I was confirmed by the coach at the time, Mohammed.
So how can you sum up your time with Victoria Shooting Stars?
It was just a time for me to learn and continue progressing. My passion for the game is what kept me going.
You had a wonderful team at that time but failed to qualify to play the national first division…
Yeah we had a really good team, but we were simply unfortunate not to have qualified from the national top flight. The interpools back then was very competitive with some top clubs.
After Shooting Stars, Mount Cameroon FC of Buea came calling…
Again it was thanks to Atem Valetine. He was the one who proposed me to late coach Alain Wabo. Valentine Atem told me my level was no longer the regional second division championship.
But it wasn’t easy in the beginning…
Yes, because at the time the team had too many big name players or ‘super stars’.
I was happy being around them and even working hard to be call in the first 18 for games and with time it all paid off.
You ended up as one of their key players…
Yes, when some of the players left, there was space for the fringe players to fight for places.
I was a midfielder at that time, when the defenders left, the team had no body they could fully trust in that position, so the then Team Manager Mr Shey Wirba proposed to the coach, that he should try me in that position and that’s how I became a central defender and an integral part of the team.
I had been deployed as a central defender when I was with Shooting Stars but it really became my position at Mount Cameroon FC.
From Mount Cameroon you went to Ghana to play for Ashanti Goldfields….
Yes Again Atem Valentine who was already there proposed me to them. Unfortunately or fortunately I could not stay with them for long, because I made a career choice to go in for short contracts.
Valentine Atem must have been very instrumental in your career…
Yes, he is my father in football.
Any message for him?
I want to thank him for being there for me, what I am today in soccer is because he trusted in and believed in me.
He always knew I could make it.
To everyone who contributed to help me get to where I am, I say a big thank you.
Then, Al Ahli Tripoli how did the move happen?
An agent known as Amadou Tigana negotiated the move and I got to Libya and there too my stay was brief.
I personally made it to be brief, it was like the Almighty God was guiding my choices, telling me this is not where I will be successful in soccer, I had that strong feeling in me.
Then you landed in Luanda where it all clicked for you…
Yeah. There was a Cameroonian player, playing with Petro[Jean Vaucelin Bekima], so the management of the club passed through him to look for some players from Cameroon.
He called the management of Astre of Douala.
I was just coming back from Libya, so we went there five of us but I was the only one the club signed. I played for them from 2007 to 2017.
So how will you describe your 10 years with Petro Atletico?
It was all good though with some ups and downs which is normal in life, but I am happy with the successful career I had over there.
What were some of the difficulties you encountered there?
New country with a new language and culture, so adaptation was a bit difficult, but the team did everything to help me in my adaptation and integration.
At one point it was rumored that the Angolans wanted you to switch nationalities so as to play for their national team, how true was that?
Yes it was true , but it never happened because of one or two reason from the administrators.
After 10 long years with Petro you moved to Bravo FC of Marquis…
Yes, I played with them for one year.
Was it difficult leaving that family [the Petro family] you had known for 10 years?
Yeah it was really difficult, especially with all the good memories we had shared together.
You happened to have had a wonderful encounter with Samuel Eto’o in Angola…
Yeah, great legend.
So tell us more about that encounter…
He visited Angola on invitation from the former President’s wife, so we had a gala match and I walked up to him and introduced myself to him.
I was with Mbida Messi and we all played in the game with Rivaldo and other top players.
After the game he invited us to his hotel, in the evening we went there, there was JB Piana there too, who also came to see him.
He sent one of his aids to get us from the reception and bring us to his suit.
We spent a few hours chatting, gave him a briefing on how we were living in Angola.
He enjoyed the exchange.
At the end he gave us 10,000USD.
Apart from the money what other memories do you keep of that encounter with him?
You know people can say things about people, but if you come closer to him and talk with him, you learn a lot from him. Great guy, simply class.
What is your assessment of the Angolan league compared to the Cameroon league?
The difference is the way they run their league, it is managed by the government, they give money to the clubs, and they have good infrastructure.
Not like the best infrastructure in the world but acceptable.
Financially, they are far better than Cameroon, but if it comes to the level of football played, our league is more competitive than that of Angola.
Looking back at your career so far, do you have a regrets?
No, I am happy with it and thanking God for it.
Any after football plans?
Looking forward to share my experience with the young ones, I am just playing now to keep the body in shape and doing some coaching with an Academy here in the US [Elite Soccer Youth Development Academy].
Copyright 2019 © kick442.com
This site is not responsible for the content displayed by external sites.