If the Arsenal’s squad have French connections as the backbones for their team’s progress, Newcastle United have the African connections to support the team revolution.
Our current team squad have 4 International players from 3 African countries. Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye both come from Senegal, while our new skipper Geremi is from Cameroon. The last one is the prolific Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins.
Geremi, nicknamed Mandela by his fellow team-mates, is experienced in leading the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in numerous African Nations Cup campaigns. His leaderships was honoured him as the new Toon skipper in the correct mindset to be Big Sam’s on-field leader.
Despite his career already seen him take in the delights of La Liga with the Galacticos Real Madrid, Middlesbrough faithful admire him during his one season loan at Teesside. With Chelsea he emerged as one of the popular figures amongst the Blues fans.
Geremi feels that his time on Tyneside was his biggest challenge to date and underlined the importance of the Toon faithful and their magnificent backing.
He told the Chronicle: “I know all about the responsibility of being a Newcastle player. You are carrying the hopes of millions, and if you don’t live up to it you won’t be here too much longer.”
Toon skipper realised that Newcastle United have a big, big fan base, one of the biggest, loyalest and most passionate supporters in the world.
“Listening to them sing your name gives you so much motivation. You want to repay them – so hopefully we can by winning a trophy.” Geremi added more.
The African quartet of Martins, Geremi, Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye will be off around six weeks of Newcastle United season when they link up with their respective countries for the African Nations Cup.
For United No 9 Oba Martins, his task of filling Alan Shearer’s boots and famous shirt was never going to be easy – and in many Geordies’ eyes, the tasks are probably impossible.
At his first season with Newcastle, Martins got things off to a slow start. But he answer the Toon Army doubts with his feet on the ground and netting home 17 goals on his first taste of English Premier League.
This season only two months old, yet five goals to add to his name already indicated he is much more than just a man who Glenn Roeder paid Inter Milan £10m for. Martins also told the Chronicle about helping his fellow African tema-mates to getting used to life in North-East.
“And they are smiling – which means they are settling in. Maybe they won’t say it now, but I think they will all say they want to play here for four or five years.” Said Martins.
Habib Beye already done so, when he feels sorry for the 2-1 lost against Reading last week. And for Abdoulaye Faye, although not mentioning it already, his fellow team-mates feels he is also enjoying his life with Newcastle and his reunion with Sam Allardyce.