From Holland to Halesowen – Passeka Kargbo will have to discover his Dutch courage.
The 17-year-old is learning the nature of English non-league football after his pampered development at PSV Eindhoven following his Yeltz arrival.
The Northern League First Division South is a world away from potential Eredivisie stardom after he swapped Eindhoven for England.
Kargbo played for NAC Breda before PSV paid to bring him to Eindhoven three years ago and he played in a youth set-up overseen by ex-Holland star Phillip Cocu.
His parents’ divorce meant a move to England late last year and, finally, Halesowen Town after six weeks waiting for international clearance and wading through red tape. And now the forward is learning to be self-sufficient with no-one to clean your boots at The Grove.
“At the beginning it was hard because I came from a professional club. I wasn’t that high but it was more training, more professional and I mixed it with college,” he said.
“After a few weeks I’m getting used to it – with all the home work I have to do. I had to make sense of how to do it all.
“It’s different because in Holland in the morning they would pick us up at the station, bring us to school and after that they would pick us up for training and take us back to the station. It was quite a different change because they do everything for you there.
“I’m getting used to being independent because back there they do everything.”
It’s not a move the winger – who lists Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o as his idols – regrets though.
After working with coaches Edwin de Wijs and Kristof Aelbrecht at PSV he left the club when parents Meimuna and Osmam divorced.
Kargbo followed his mum to Quinton with brother Lamin and sister Fatima to study at Halesowen College.
It was there he was invited by Andre Whyte, the Yeltz’s youth team manager who works at the college, for trials with the club.
“My parents got divorced and mum decided to come over here because we have family over here and I decided to follow,” he said.
“I started playing with the college team and the manager and coach of the college team is the manager of the youth team here and he asked if I wanted to come over.
“There are another two teachers who are managers at Bromsgrove so I went and watched and they said follow your heart and I had a good feeling about Halesowen.
“I heard they were a bit low in the last few years but that’s football, you can’t always win.”
The Yeltz are eighth in the Northern League First Division South after relegation following two years of crippling financial problems.
The club were close to going out of business after living beyond their means but are recovering on and off the pitch under chairman Colin Brookes and manager John Hill.
They were due to face Loughborough Dynamo today and Kargbo, who wants to become a professional, admits the style is a world away from the Dutch total football.
“The football is different here. In Holland we don’t like to play the long ball and aren’t as physical, it’s more tactical.
“Then I come here and it’s way different so I need to get used to it.
“There’s a lot of power, strength and speed but I’ll be alright, in a few months, said Kargbo, who lists Holland under-19 starlet Jürgen Locadia, who has scored four goals in just seven games for PSV this season, as a former team-mate.
“I prefer to play football because I’m not that big but I love the ball at my feet so I can dribble but that’s England and I just have to deal with it. Hopefully with some games coming up I can start playing.
“I want to get as high as possible and I hope I can.
“I know I can play football, I hope I can get my shape and fitness and I can get to where I am supposed to be.”
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