For a large percentage of young lads around the UK, playing in the FA Cup would be a dream come true, but usually by the age of 20, that dream has shifted towards something else if a professional career hasn’t panned out. However, for trainee plumber Neil Kengni, it’ll become a reality next month when he turns out for Marine FC against current Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Kengni, from Wythenshawe in Manchester, is currently a student at Trafford College and also plies his trade part time for the non-league outfit from Merseyside, who have received a plum tie by landing Jose Mourinho’s team in the third round.
Marine are in the eighth tier of English football and are only the second club from that level to reach the prestigious tournament’s third round.
And Kengni, who is one of the club’s top goalscorers, will likely be leading the line next month against the likes of Harry Kane and Gareth Bale. Although it will mean taking a slight break from his studies on Trafford College’s Stretford campus, where he has been studying for the last two years for an apprenticeship in plumbing.
Kengni, who worked with Horizon plumbers over the summer, said of the opportunity, “I haven’t spoken about much football in college, but when my course mates found out they have all been saying well done on the win and they’ll be tuning in to watch the game.
“Studying plumbing then training in the evenings hasn’t always been easy, but the college has been very accommodating. It has been madness at times to get home, get changed and drive to practise, but to be able to play matches, like this one against Spurs, shows it’s well worth the effort.”
The 20-year-old began his football career playing for Rochdale on a youth scholarship, before moving to Stalybridge Celtic before securing a loan move to Marine, which was made permanent this past summer.
“I decided to study plumbing as a way of making a living while I’m playing football semi-professionally, and I’m loving it. College is like being part of a big football team. Tutors make it clear what they expect of you, give you support and show you where to find it in order for you to raise your game.
“The only area of disagreement is which football team we support.”
We’re all wishing Kengni the very best of luck and would love to see an all time giant killing take place, next month. Sorry Spurs.
(h/t Manchester Evening News)