Adios to Ricky and bonjour to Dieumerci.
Best wishes to the former in Spain – once more, it’s not worked out in Norwich and maybe he’s wishing he wasn’t shackled with *that* nickname, just like these hirsute people.
Not sure what the ilk of Ron Saunders would have made of such cosmopolitan squad comings and goings but the world is a very different place to when I first started following the beautiful game.
As a flying Dutchman heads to warmer climates for another year, the Congolese striker Mbokani joins his fellow countryman Youssouf Mulumbu in the gradually evolving Alex Neil squad in the East of England.
A new face, especially one with potentially goals in his boots, always generates an air of excitement. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much for your typical Canary fan to lurch from one emotional high or low to another – last night’s meltdown a perfect example.
But can he deliver? Is he the much mooted 15-20 goal-a-season messiah that many have been demanding?
Mbokani is a title winner and comes with an average of a goal every other game – facts and stats which come with the large caveat of being achieved in the Belgian and Ukranian leagues.
The Premier League for all its warts represents a very large step up in pace and quality, but Mbokani looks to have the physique to handle the rough and tumble.
Does he though have the finesse and coolness to take the kind of chances which so far our strikers have failed to do this season?
No doubt, it will have been a big relief for him to get out of the fractious political and social maelstrom that is currently infecting the icy yet fiery Ukraine.
Also, with the distinctly racist reputation of east European football fans, I suspect that our new striker will find Norfolk and its surrounds a very pleasant improvement in quality of life and the warm way he is welcomed by the vast majority in the county and country.
It will be a very different scene to that of his African homeland, formerly Zaire – still most famous for that classic 1974 World Cup free-kick incident.
Now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country is still ravaged by civil war, disease and poverty affecting the vast majority of its citizens.
It currently ranks 186th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index – a combined indicator of life expectancy, education standards and personal income. Norway is 1st and the UK 14th incidentally.
For all of his country’s magnificent natural scenery and resources, clearly any measure of sporting talent provides one of the few ways out for anyone looking to make an affluent life for themselves and their family.
The Broads and the Fens will provide very different vistas to the equator-crossing, tropical rainforest and mountains on offer in Congo – wonderful attractions to the casual tourist or intrepid explorer from Europe or America but clearly a punishingly tough landscape in which to eke out a life and a living on a daily basis.
The riches on offer in the English Premier League, albeit at ‘little old’ Norwich City will, no doubt with the recommendation from his compatriot Mulumbu, have been a no-brainer of a decision for the striker.
Before battle recommences, Mbokani will have had the best part of two weeks to settle in with his new team mates, try to learn the finer points of the Glaswegian accent and to get used to the largely alien cuisine on offer in his newly adopted home city.
Let’s hope that the financial security assured by just one season here will not blunt the edge of his desire and passion for goals. I’m sure it won’t.
After all, let’s not kid ourselves, he will know that if he proves himself a roaring success, then a bigger and richer club will be knocking on the door for his services next season.
The Sky (Sports) is the limit for Dieumerci Mbokani, even before he’s pulled on the yellow and green half and half with large yellow corporate logo box for competitive action.
His adopted first name translates as ‘Thank God’. And amen to that if he fires us to Premier League safety come next May.
colin m says
How lucky we are living in Great Britain seems like half the world wants to live here.we will happily ‘foster’ our friend and wish him well.
Would all the ‘fans’ giving negative comments just go away and get a reality check, we have the best squad ever assembled in yellow and green.Support encourages criticism damages.Just enjoy the ride.
Azores Canary says
Nice one Russell! A good read. Amen indeed! OTBC
The hsteria comes from the incredible names linked, and we end up with a striker on loan that would ahve been finalised at the beginning of the summer if we rated him that highly. We are woefully short at CB and not convinced up top. A LOT rests on ‘Thank God’ Mbok that’s for sure. It’s a lot of pressure and a lot to ask…
Stewart Lewis says
Good stuff, Russ. Always worth reminding ourselves that players are real people from real places.
Reading Mbokani’s comments, it’s clear that (i) Mulumbu gave him a glowing report on Norwich, and (ii) he’s keen and committed. He was also one of the first targets identified by Alex Neil.
Almost unnoticed amidst the (understandable) concern about central defenders, we signed an exciting player yesterday in Matt Jarvis. Plenty to be said about him – I feel an article coming on….
Russell S. says
With all the transfer fallout and conspiracy theories now doing the rounds, wouldn’t be surprised if Mbokani’s work permit is refused.
Must admit, I’m a lot more informed on the DR of Congo than before I wrote the piece!
Stewart – good luck with the Jarvis biog..Gillingham to Wolves to the Hammers just didn’t carry the same appeal as Congo to Belgium to Ukraine for me.
Colin – You can be a fan and offer negative comments. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The fact is if one or two of our CB’s can’t play we can’t field a full defence. That is a shambles…you can’t explain it any other way. We may have the best squad, but doesn’t mean it’s complete or harmonious.
colin m says
Todd 6. Give a name then of a proven CB that was available and better? We tried Hoiveld & Cuellar so called premiership quality. Many prem clubs desperate for great CB but so few around.
The problem I have with negativity is that its displayed prior to knowing the outcome. The time to comment is in 10 games time when we find out if the team is good enough, even then where are these players?
Frank Clifford says
I agree we have the best squad since Delia has been on the board. The best Squad ever assembled in yellow and green I don’t think so. The Mike Walker team that finished 3rd in the premier was better.
By and Large I think the Transfer Window went OK. I agree we needed another CB, I am sure they tried to get one. But now it is an obvious error to have let Turner go before securing a replacement. Just hope we get away with it until January.
Some people think we should get every player we bid for and should never sell anyone – Get Real
Cosmo P. says
The more I read about Mbokani, the more excited I get. He was joint top scorer at the last Africa Cup of Nations, ahead of the likes of Gradel, Bony, Mahrez and Sako. DR Congo (with Mulumbu too) finished 3rd.
It’s a pity that his imminent arrival has been overshadowed by Bradley’s exit and all the other negative guff around the transfer window.
Can’t wait to see him in action against Bournemouth hopefully.
To be honest I don’t think the transfer window has been too bad – some real quality bought in including upgrades of BJ and RvW. The issue is who we didn’t get (CD) and rumblings of things not quite right behind the scenes most notably Grabban and possibly Johnson too. The big issue is perhaps that fringe players under AN just don’t seem to get rotated in. Vadis had a good pre-season and match at Rotherham and then sent out on loan having not even made a single PL match day squad. Let’s hope it’s just a case of a month away to gain match fitness.
Nice to read an article where we learn something. Let’s hope our new signings (we did make 7, so not sure what the fuss is about) put people’s doubts to bed soon.
The trouble with saying “it’s all going to sh!t” is that by the very law of football nature, everything goes wring eventfully. So those who believe it will ultimately be right. And weirdly happy about it.
After following this game for 35 years there is very little I haven’t seen in the world of football (and I’ve watched it all over the world) but if there’s one thing that still perplexes me, it’s the fans. Plus ca change.
Russell S. says
Cityfan – always aim to entertain and educate. Nice to hear I’ve finally managed it!
The big lad from Congo is one of the more interesting signings we’ve made. Hope it works out for him and us.
As for fans moaning – que sera sera. If there was nothing to moan about, they’d moan even more.