One of the reasons I love the football world so much is because of the experiences and opportunities it brings if you allow it to.
From taking the plunge in moving to Malaysia to play football four years ago, it was never my intention or within my capability to appear on TV. However, one day I received a call from a friend saying he had spoken to someone at Astro. That preceded a random message three weeks later, asking if I was interested to co-host Man on the Street! Despite my initial reservations, saying "Yes" has been one of the most fulfilling decisions I have been pushed into.
The first episode was with ex-Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips. I'd done my research and felt that the main challenge for the day was trying to create a positive relationship with Kevin and my experienced co-host, Reem Shahwa. It did feel like being thrown in at the deep end, but Reem, along with a very warm and supportive production team, encouraged me to enjoy the day of my on-screen baptism.
To date, I have found all the guests very warm and it has been a pleasure to learn about each legend as a person, as well as dipping into their on-field history. The unique nature of Man on the Street allows me and Reem to really get to know the player on the way to meeting fans, who often struggle to take in the reality of an elite footballer being seated across the table, let alone have a coffee with them!
Personally, it has also come full circle for me. A moment that stands out was in Episode 2 when we recorded with ex-France and Spurs defender Pascal Chimbonda. I'd played with a Guadeloupean footballer (the country of Pascal’s heritage) back in England and wondered if he knew who he was.
It turned out that 'Ludo' was actually a good friend of his – they even used to be housemates back in Manchester when I was playing on the same team as him! It was a touching moment for both of us, as Ludo sadly passed away in 2012.
Looking at the coming season, I know I can improve a lot under the experienced guidance of those around me. Having this creative outlet has been gratifying, outside of day-to-day football life. For the show, I'm sure that myself, Reem and the entire team can put together some quality TV to entertain and educate our viewers, and at the same time, give some lucky fans (including myself!) experiences they will value for a long time to come.
For me, I feel grateful again to the sport I love for dropping these experiences my way and allowing me to walk this path. Having the full support and understanding of my club PKNS FC have also helped immensely.
I don’t know where it leads, but I’m loving the journey.
Thu Sep 12 2019
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