Monday, 26 January 2009

Savio Nsereko- The Last German

With everyone in the free and right thinking world (with the exception of the club itself) seemingly aware that we have signed Savio Nsereko, I thought I would post this rare interview/profile I discovered in the dark depths of Al Gore's internet. It appears to be a couple of weeks old and my German isn't the best these days so apologies for the occasional stilted phrase and incongruous fact (given the latest developments).

Full name: Savio Nsereko
Date of birth: July 27, 1989
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda
Nationality: German
2nd nationality: Ugandan
EU passport: Yes
Height: 176 cms/ 5.7ft
Weight: 73 kgs

In former times there was Matthäus, Klinsmann, Völler or Häßler - today it is Savio Nsereko. The U-19 King of Europe keeps the German flag flying high in Italy with Brescia Calcio. But for how much longer? Half of Europe courts the attacking player- and also Bayern Munich has him in on their radar.

The Last German

There are players whose names portray their heritage, that sound German by their very essence. Jürgen Klinsmann for example, or Rudolf Völler. Savio Nsereko is not one of them. Nsereko was born on July 27, 1989 in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Yet apart from the national language of English, or the dialect Swahili, he retains little else from his formative years. It was in Munich where he grew up and it was in German that he learned to communicate, fully embracing the Bavarian lifestyle. That remained the case up until three years ago, when Italy came into his life.

Since then Savio Nsereko has represented the German flag with pride in the Italian Serie B. In the summer of 2005 the then 16-year-old moved club and country, swapping the familiarity of his first club, 1860 Munich, for an unknown adventure with Brescia Calcio.

Nsereko would be the latest member of a long line of German heroes, who arrived in Italy to seek fame and honour. Ludwig Janda was the pioneer, then the Schnellingers and Hallers, followed later by Matthäus, Klinsmann and Völler. Now Nsereko is the sole standard barer of this exalted tradition, the last German in Italy.

But for how much longer will he ply his trade in the second league in the country of the World Champions. The question is about to be answered.

Interest From Bavaria

Brescia president Gino Corioni, who has already brought Luca Toni and Roberto Baggio to Lombardy, openly admitted in a discussion on Radio Kiss Kiss that Nsereko's prospective buyers stand in a very long queue: "Large clubs, Italian and foreign ones, have already approached me about Savio. Also Bayern Munich have been in very close contact."

Napoli Hot Candidate

As revealed by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli, Palermo and Genoa have long been the most persistent prospective buyers. Information leaked by the largest Italian sports daily disclosed Napoli's director of sport Pierpaolo Marino has already tabled an offer of five million euros.

Of course, the southern Italians have a good relationship with the Rondinelle; Slovak midfield starlet Marek Hamsik, Italian international defender Fabiano Santacroce and Daniele Mannini were all transferred in from Brescia in the last few years.

"When Marek Hamsik was 19 years old, there was not as much interest in him as there is now with Savio" revealed Corioni, speaking of his German jewel. A starring role in the Under 19 European Championship, where he scored one goal and had four assists on his way to be named player of the tournament, was more than enough to provoke the attention. Since when, Brescia have had to live with the fact that almost every week brings a new suiter for their prize asset.

It is heavily reported in the English media that West Ham United are the latest club to have Nsereko's name on it's purchase list. However the London club, due to the financial crisis, might at the moment have a difficult problem making the lucrative offer that would be needed to secure his services.

Uganda, Germany, Italy

Nsereko remains unaffected by the clamouring attention and attendant wild predictions for a spectacular future.

"The interest flatters me, but at the moment I am concentrating completely on Brescia", he told internet site Golmania. "I would like to win promotion with Brescia into Serie A."

Nsereko's history, itself, sounds like a modern football fairy tale. At the age of just two years he was taken with his family from Kampala to Munich. Once he was of an age, he then spent six years with TSV 1860 Munich, steadily progressing with the Lions through all their youth teams. It was at the age of 15 that the lure of Italian interest first became apparent. Instead of trying his luck in Munich, it did not take Savio long to decide to accept the offer from Brescia and succumb to the pull of Italy. He departed in the summer of 2005, aged 16, the minimum age limit allowed by FIFA for international transfer among European Union nations.

"I dreamed always of making my money as a professional in Italy. To put it simply, Italian football fascinated me," Nsereko explained to the German press. "Others like the combative football in England or the elegant football in Spain. I like the tactical and technical approach in Italy."

A Little Like Owen

His football style does not seem to correspond to the cynical result-orientated football of the Italians at all. "I live by my speed", says Nsereko, rather than by strength. Indeed at just under 5ft 8", the relatively diminutive Nsereko needs to be terribly quick- but it is a speed allied with excellent technical abilities and exceptional football instinct.

With his stature and breath-taking dribbling, he is somewhat reminiscent of the young Michael Owen. Others have compared him to Simao. A maker and taker of goals, equally comfortable as an orthodox winger or operating centrally further up the field.

Yet, of fame and glamour the flying forward has little or no interest.

Indeed, his actions on and off the pitch gives us hope for the new German generation. The glittering world of the modern footballer's existence is rather strange to him. Compared with the Beckhams and Ronaldos, Nsereko is defined in contra-distinction.

Inter? No Thanks

A few months ago he received a solicitation from Milanese giants Inter. Nsereko thought hard but kindly declined.

"I am a young player and need to practice and play. It would not have help me there if I practiced with those stars only to watch them from the grandstand at the weekend," explained Savio. "A change at that time would have been simply not intelligent."

Perhaps this grounded personality has something to do with his first professional coach in Italy. It was under the guidance of the imposing Zdenek Zeman that he made his Brescia debut in May 2006 against FC Crotone. He gained more chances in 2007–08.

Break-Through With The U-19s

The real break-through, though, came only in the past summer with the U-19,s with the title secured by the victorious Germans. By the end every scout and manager was aware of Nsereko and the whereabouts of Brescia.

"Before the tournament the Brescia coach Nedo Sonetti had the thought to keep me with the team rather than let me participate", he recently told Mediagol. "Thank God we decided, together with President Corioni, to go for it."

Roy Millar, UEFA's technical observer, bestowed upon Nsereko the 'Player of the Tournament' award, saying: "The best player in the tournament for me has been Nsereko. He can go inside on his right foot to make you a goal, or can go wide left and get in behind defenders."

It was a defining moment for Savio, who was about to miss the biggest game of his career to date. In the semi-final he saw his second yellow card and was suspended for the final game against his adopted country of Italy.


Prince H said...

Very good read. Thanks!


Leighton Noyes said...

Well done boy, you're always finding hidden gems like this.

Anonymous said...

A good well researched artical. Well done.

Iron Man

Max said...

Savio sounds like he's a good kid reading that. I feel a bit better about the club paying out all that money now although it's still a huge gamble.

Anonymous said...

Christ, here's black and German. I hope he's got thick skin!

Rudy Dag said...

Thanks for this...I was just reading the 'Savio Who?' article on Setanta and feeling pissed off...this cheered me up...thanks!

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Nelly The Hammer said...

Christ! Reading that it sounds like Nani has found an absolute gem. How long before United buy him from us?


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