Former Arsenal and Cameroon defender Lauren Etame Mayer has challenged East African players to have self belief if they are to break into the top football leagues in the world.
Lauren told Redpepper Online at Serena Hotel on Sunday that self-belief counts among the major factors that boost players’ chances to advance their professional career.
Lauren, who was part of the Invincible Arsenal team that went unbeaten and won the league in the 2002-2003 season, was in Uganda alongside Arsenal’s relations manager Luke Wilson on a planned visit courtesy of Airtel Uganda. The duo was invited for the Airtel Uganda rising star project intended to help disadvantaged children have access to both quality education and football training.
The former defender said while growing up he used to walk over 15 km to go nature his talent in Spain, but because he was determined and had self belief, it paid off. He said players in East African region need to have the self belief, work hard and also listen to the coaches.
He explained that West African teams continue to dominate in having players playing in Europe because they are so passionate about football, work hard and also have good contacts.
He also said during his playing days in the English Premiership, Manchester United’s veteran winger Ryan Giggs was his worst player to mark.
Lauren also played for Utrera, Sevilla, Levante, Mallorca and Portsmouth in his 16 year career starting in 1995. He played 24 times for his native Cameroon between 1997 and 2002, winning the 2000 and 2002 Nations Cups.