By Peter Kanjere:
Be Forward Wanderers forward Jabulani Linje, who is on a two-year loan contract at YSCC Yokohama FC in Japan, has shared his experience in the Asian country, saying he hopes to open the door for more Malawian players to the J3 League.
In a telephone interview, Linje Tuesday said he was
not struggling adapting to the Japanese third tier league’s playing standards, save for life off the pitch due to language barrier.
“In terms of football standards, I think there is no much difference with our Super League. I am convinced that most Malawian players can, with the right mentality, make it here,” he said.
With 2016 co-top scorer Peter Utaka [Nigerian] yet to find a club following his release from Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Linje is reportedly the only African player in J3 League; hence, it has not been easy for the Malawian.
He has featured in some 14 games for Yokohama whose chances of earning promotion to J2 League are slim as they are placed 12th with 27 points from 23 games. Rykyu lead the 17-member log table with 50 points from 23 games.
“I have featured in some games but I believe I can do better if I learnt Japanese because everything here is in their language. It has been hard for me as I can only communicate to team-mates and the coach [Yasuhiro Higuchi] through sign language.
“When we are preparing for high-profile games, they bring in an interpreter for me but most of the times, I figure out what is happening in training and games through sign language. Imagine being surrounded by 30-plus people who cannot speak to you,” the former Civil Sporting Club player said.
Going forward, the Flames player hopes to enrol for Japanese classes at the end of the season.
“Apart from language, it can be very cold and hot here. And food is a challenge, even more considering that I am a Muslim. I have to hunt for the particular food that suits me. However, I am not complaining as I earn better and they have top facilities,” Linje said.
He will be available for the October 12 and 16 games against Cameroon in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The attacking midfielder said the games are a must-win for the Flames.
“We have the chances. It is all up to us, the players, to deliver the goods. It is possible to win away. We just need to be united,” he said.
Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, yesterday said Yokohama were impressed with the attacker, adding that they have received inquiries from other Japanese teams interested in more Malawian footballers.
“When he was called for the national team’s trip to Morocco, his club was reluctant to release him because they value his contribution. They are getting inquiries from other clubs who are interested in him.
“At the end of the season, we hope to send a few players to Japan but we cannot disclose names now. There is also a possibility of Precious Msosa going to Korea where some team is interested in him following his previous trials in Japan,” Butao said.
Msosa has not featured for Wanderers this season because, among other reasons, he went to Botswana for trials but he is now back after failing to clinch a deal.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues