Sometimes it's harder for a foreign footballer to deal with English journalists that are desperate for readers and sensations, than playin in the PL.
The latest example has hit our Yo-Yo. The Congolese only french speaking defender did an interview with a french web-magazine. In the interview he spoke very well of the club, Zola, the fans and the atmosphere in the club. And the huge will to win, always, even against Liverpool. When he was asked why he didn't hesitate to join a "club moyen" (the french journo was the one the insulted Hammers by sayin it was a surprise that Faubert (!) did go to "such a club", and asked if it was a stepping stone for Illunga) Illunga answered "West Ham est un club de "seconde zone", sans être péjoratif" to continue to praise Hammers. So what he actually says is that we can't fool ourself, we are not a top four club. (and we should not!). Without being péjorative. But in the English press (Setana, followed by a lot of other papers and websites) that "second zone" has been translated to "second rate". That is something else, that can bee seen as an insult. But that was not what he said. Of course it is obvious what Setana tries to do. The huge problem that it hits Illunga badly. If our fans are not aware of what have happened he can even be a new goal for boo-boys. And as a he don't have a contract, leave us for someone else. (Sign him now!)
He does not see West Ham as a stepping stone either (which also has been quoted in English media). On the opposite he says: "I do really hope that I can stay at this club where I've become very happy". ("J'espère vraiment que je vas rester dans ce club car j'y suis très heureux")
• You can read the whole interview in french here
• You can read Illungas own blog -where he now comments the english (mis)translation of his interview as well. Read here!
Having relatives and friends in Congo, one of the most waraffected countries in the world right now, is of course a much larger problem for Illunga. Still. This is another example of a more and more obvious truth. As an English footballer you should avoid to speak to the press! As a new foreigner you shold beware even more! And as a fan and as a journalist myself, I do say it honestly but with a tear in my eye...