Like his close friend and international teammate Vincent Kompany, Christian Kabasele from Watford came to the Premier League via Belgium of descent Congolese
In the case of Kabasele, he was only eight months old when his family home in Lubumbashi, Congo's second city, was robbed, persuading him to go to Brussels and then to Liège. to uproot.
& # 39; The situation in Congo was not good at the time. A lot of violence & # 39 ;, the 28-year-old explains. & # 39; It was a difficult choice for my parents, they had to leave their own parents behind, but they made the sacrifice for our future. I only know my grandparents on the phone, but it is a story that many African players in Europe would understand.
& # 39; When I first played for Belgium and met Vincent, it was like we had known each other for many years. We are talking about our history. & # 39;
Defeating hardships helped Kabasele cope with the pressure of a relegation battle. Watford entertains Manchester United today at the bottom of the Premier League with only nine points. Their last league win on Vicarage Road was back in April and this season they have had more managers than wins (4-3).
Kabasele, an impressive central defender affiliated with Leicester City last summer, has spoken out against online racism abuse in the past and is equally candid about the predicament The Hornets are – just six months after they walked to the Wembley for a FA Cup Final against Manchester City.
& It is really bad. I think there are no other words when you see the quality of our team and we are still the last place in December, "he acknowledges.
& # 39; When you see the numbers, it's pretty easy. We didn't score much. We admit too much. We have been good at the back in some games, but have not been given goals. If we score, we'll let three or four in.
& # 39; I don't think there was a Premier League team with nine points at this stage, but that is an exciting challenge. We need the spirit and quality that we have shown in our last two games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool. If we had done that all season, we would be higher in the competition, but this is the situation. & # 39;
The improved displays, if not the results, have emerged since the appointment of Nigel Pearson, who oversaw the great escape of Leicester City in 2015. Kabasele has already heard team discussions this season from Javi Gracia, Quique Sanchez Flowers and Hayden Mullins but says
Pearson, manager No4, has been influenced by between players on the training field.
We see it everywhere. Sometimes we joke about it in the team, & he smiles. & # 39; In the physical room, in the office, in the canteen, often. He pays attention to everyone who is the most important difference with the other managers.
& # 39; Last week it was freezing cold and I had a snood in the physiotherapy room. I did not expect the manager's voice to suddenly lie behind me: "Are you cold?" It was funny because I didn't know he was there or when he came in. He surprised me – you never know when he will appear.
& He has also made a difference on the field. He wants us to give everything to restore our form quickly and trusts our ability to hurt the opponent with our speed. Javi Gracia went more over the ball, Quique defensive ability. But with this manager it's a mix.
& # 39; We must believe in ourselves that we are moving forward, because if you have the pace of Gerard Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney in the box to finish, you should be confident. & # 39;
Watford & # 39; s record 6-0 cup final defeat to City was a humiliation that was implemented this season. But Kabasele, on the bench that scorching afternoon, does not blame one fall for the fall-off. & # 39; We have also lost our last four league games & # 39 ;, he notes. & # 39; When Brighton beat us 3-0 this season, it was really embarrassing and the negative spiral went on. & # 39;
Nor does he have time for the theory that Watford & # 39; s multinational squadron has exhausted team spirit.
I would say, sorry for the word, that it is bullshit. We had the best Premier League season of the club and reached a final cup with almost the same players. We live well together every day. It is not a matter of a divided dressing room. That is why we are at the bottom. & # 39;
At Watford & # 39; s Christmas on Thursday, Kabasele sat next to £ 25 million French-speaking Senegal, Sarr, helping him get involved with the team when Kompany ever helped him. But it's not a stranger. He is an equally big fan of English goalkeeper Ben Foster, who recently made headlines by stopping his car to rescue an 80-year-old Watford fan who had fallen into a ditch. & # 39; Ben is one of the nicest people I have met in football and I immediately noticed that & # 39 ;, he says ..
Kabasele chose salmon instead of turkey at the festival. One of his rules is to eat meat only once a day and his wife made chicken in the evening. He will need his strength against Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for a full house with a capacity of 22,000 in Hertfordshire.
& # 39; I was watching United Beat City in the Manchester derby, & # 39; he says. & # 39; Even if they may not be United or old, you must respect them. They have talented players and if you catch them on a good day, it's hard. But we must also give them the feeling that it will not be easy.
& # 39; In our situation, even a draw is not so positive. We have not won this season at home and we cannot reach 2020 without that record. & # 39;
Following profitable matches against promoted teams Sheffield United and Aston Villa, a result against United could create a real momentum to help Watford climb to safety.
Kabasele is without a contract in the summer, but is talking about a new one. & # 39; If I was worried about Watford and the club or my situation, I would stop the negotiations &, he reveals. & # 39; But we are almost done with the deal. I want to stay with Watford in the Premier League. & # 39;
Next summer he has a chance to be part of the star-studded team of Belgium for Euro 2020. He went to the European championships four years ago and although
Playing with big stars such as Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard is a big carrot, even if his debut against Holland in 2016 was a bit disturbing. "I wasn't meant to play, but just before the kick-off, Roberto Martinez told me that I had two minutes to change because Vincent Kompany had a problem.
" I didn't have time to get nervous , that was good, but when I was sitting in the dressing room, Thomas Meunier from PSG was next to me and asked what I was doing because I wasn't supposed to be there. I had to explain that there was a late change! & # 39;
To show that you are never too old to learn, in the past two weeks, Kabasele has even taken a number of extra defensive tips from ubiquitous Pearson, a formidable mid-back on Sheffield Wednesday in his own playing days.
& # 39; He has given me some tips on body shape and body language & # 39 ;, says Kabasele. & # 39; I don't mind. If I had nothing to learn, I would be a manager myself! I think you should seek advice – you can improve until the end of your career. & # 39;