African Wantaways?

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 19 November 2006
Rodolph Douala, Lomana LuaLua and Nwankwo Kanu have all expressed a desire to leave Portsmouth under certain circumstances this weekend. Bare in mind that these interviews come from such reputable sources as The Sun and The Daily Express, so make of these claims as you will.

Douala has said that he will have to consider his options in January if he isn't playing regularly by that time. Pompey fans haven't seen much of the Cameroon winger since he signed on loan from Sporting Lisbon and he seems to be way down the pecking order right now. Gary O'Neil, David Thompson and Ognjen Koroman (or Taylor and Kranjcar should he play on the left) all seem to be ahead of Douala in the queue when it comes to competition for his position and it would not surprise me to see him leave.

Would I be bothered? Well, I'd be disappointed that the only view I got of him was during a 2-1 defeat to Villa's reserves and there is no way anyone could judge him on that. His injury has hampered any real chance of him breaking into the first team, having just made two sub apperances in the Carling Cup. On the other hand, we seem to be coping fine without him right now. I suppose you could argue that his wages would be better spent on defenders come the transfer window.

Lomana LuaLua has told the gutter rag; The Sun, that he might have to consider his future at Pompey because of the treatment a few of the Pompey fans have given him.

He says "I do not mind if people criticise me for my football, but people who are supposed to support me have said they are glad my son is dead, and that I am a wife-beater and a playboy."

Now before I continue I will condemn any Pompey "fan" that has said that they are glad that Lomana's son is dead and that he is a wife-beater. These comments were supposedly made on a messageboard so there can be no confirmation that it was actually a Pompey fan who came out with such ludicrous comments. It could easily have been a Scummer wanting to stir trouble for all we know.

I am fully aware that LuaLua gets criticism in the grounds and on the internet. I also believe that a lot of it is harsh and some of it goes too far, and that goes for the Fratton Faithful messageboard too. I have read some things on there that would make me feel hurt if I was LuaLua. Fair enough, he deserves criticism for not passing enough, being too selfish etc but his personal life should be just that, personal. When the criticism of him turns into swipes on how he lives his private life, that's not on.

It should be no business of ours what he does in his own time and I'm sure that there are plenty of other footballers who lead more flamboyant lives than he does. Let's not forget that in the past year he has suffered a life-threatening bout with Malaria and his six-month-old son has died, without his own FA notifying him! So what if he goes out nightclubbing a lot? I thought that was what a lot of 25-year-olds do.

I notice that it's a minority of supporters who are constantly on the back of the DR Congo striker and the majority of Pompey fans are firmly behind him, as proven by the amount of vocal support he got in the game yesterday. As supporters we should support our own players, regardless of what we think of them off the pitch. I know our number 32 can be extremely frustrating at times but he has probably been our best attacking player in the last two games and has scored two crucial winners so far this season.

However...

I don't think that going to the likes of The Sun to tell everyone how you're feeling is the best idea in the world. Being quoted as saying "I think there is a lot of jealousy towards me because I earn good money but that is not my fault. God has blessed me with a talent, I'd play for free if I had to." is not the best way to respond to your critics is it?

The perfect example of how to turn around the opinions of those who keep criticising you is right next to you: Benjani Mwaruwari.

Benjani got a ton of stick when he first arrived at Pompey, arguably more than LuaLua had, especially on the pitch. But Benjani didn't run off and moan to the tabloids, claiming he was considering his future. Instead, he got his head down and carried on working his arse off and eventually won all of the fans over. These days if I was picking the Pompey team Benjani would be the first attacking player I would pick if he was available.

That's not to say Lomana LuaLua hasn't tried to do just that. I still think a bit more effort to get onside is required but I'd say the Congolese forward has made a start by having the guts to take a vital penalty against Watford yesterday. For the record I think LuaLua will stay at Pompey as despite his critics he is well liked by the majority of the Pompey fans and he always offers us something different. Once he learns to pass the ball more often he could be a hell of a player.

Phew! Now that rant is over I can go onto perhaps the most eyebrow raising claim by the Premiership's joint-top goalscorer.

Kanu hasn't explicitly stated he wants to leave Pompey, but he has told The Daily Express that should his old club; Ajax, come in for him he will happily hop on a plane to join them.

I can't help but be a little suspect about this "revelation" as it isn't the first time that Kanu has been linked to a move away from Fratton Park so shortly after joining us. Okay, it's only paper talk but sometimes there is no smoke without fire. It will be interesting to see if Ajax do make an inquiry in January on the Nigerian's availability but I'm sure that if there are any bids for our top scorer, Harry will do whatever he can to keep him.

Whether these claims are genuine or just your typical media spew we'll have to wait and see. I can't see Kanu leaving us any time soon though. After all, he turned down a move to Champions League Hamburg for us.

But you can never be sure with Portsmouth Kan-u?

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