Black London footballers: pioneers, cage games and setbacks | Football News

Wilfred Zaha Japhet Tanganga Michail Antonio Black London footballers

Playing years over your age, cage football grows into a hub of intensity and talent.

As part of Black History Month, Jabette Tanganga, Wilfried Zaha and Michael Antonio give a fascinating view of life as a young black footballer in London.

Crystal Palace winger Zaha, who was born in Ivory Coast, moved to Thornton Heath in Croydon at the age of four, grew up in south London and was surrounded by cage football, discussing what helped shape him as the player he is now.

Zaha also explains what it means for Colin Omokpehin, a former Palace community coach who is now co-U-23 coach at Fulham, to be a mentor to him and to be a role model to others.

Antonio’s path to the Premier League has been equally impressive, with many setbacks at the non – league level ahead of West Ham explaining why he failed to track him down.

The 30-year-old, who grew up in Wandsworth, started in Tooting and Mitcham and reached the Premier League with West Ham via six other clubs.

June 14, 2012 in Stratford, England.
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Zaha, Tanganga and Antonio explain the intensity of cage football

Tanganga, the most recent invention in the Premier League with Tottenham, discusses growing up in Hockney, and the influence that the late Spurs coach Yuko Ehioku had on him.

The 21-year-old explains why Viv Anderson, Cyril Regis, Larry Cunningham, John Barnes and Paul Innes are role models for him as a young black footballer, and for black footballers like him, Zaha, Antonio is even more so.

Sky Sports Nigel James talks to Chelsea right-back Reese James’ father Nigel, who runs Elite training, leaders in the performance of all-inclusive elite players and the development of young players.

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James discusses the pressures of being a young footballer and why Zaha and Antonio are role models.

Read more Black History Monthly Content on Sky Sports, including exclusive interviews and features

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Seth Sale

About the Author: Seth Sale

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