Harambee Stars Captain and Impact Montreal midfielder Victor Wanyama opened up on the struggles he faced at English Premier League (EPL) club Tottenham before his move to Montreal in March.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Wanyama revealed that his frustrations stemmed from the upper hierarchy at Tottenham seemingly shutting the door on his return to the first team even after he recovered from a knee injury in 2017.
He sought to absolve Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho from any blame on the issue, revealing that in their first conversation after Mourinho joined Tottenham, the celebrated manager wondered aloud why Wanyama was not playing.
Wanyama disclosed that he grew seriously frustrated by the lack of game time in London and lost his happiness as well as his passion for the game.Victor Wanyama poses for a photo with a Montreal Impact shirt on March 4, 2020.
In an attempt to prove to the decision-makers at Tottenham that he was able to play as well as he did before the injury, Wanyama even offered to play for the Tottenham reserves but was rebuffed.
"The first thing [Mourinho] told me was, he was wondering why I wasn't playing. I have to be playing. The problem wasn't with the coach if you ask me. The problem was a little bit upstairs and they didn't give me a chance.
"I was not given the chance to come back, I was frustrated. I wanted to get my happiness back, my football happiness back," he explained.
Wanyama signed for Montreal on March 3 and made his debut on March 10 against C.D Olimpia in a first leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match, providing an assist as his team lost 2-1.
Two days later, however, the club shut down operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to ravage countries around the world.
Wanyama revealed that it was a phone call from Impact Montreal manager and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry that convinced him to make the move across the pond.
He stated that many of his fans in Kenya understood and supported his decision to leave Tottenham and the glamour of the EPL despite having a contract that ran until 2021.
"Most of them understood that I needed to get my happiness back and the only way to get my happiness back was to come and enjoy playing football again," he noted.
Wanyama also revealed that he was spending time during the Covid-19 crisis at home working on his fitness and getting to know his new teammates through regular online chats.
"It's a great thing to do, to have that bond and be a team even though we can't be together at this time," he stated.
Wanyama also spoke on his initiative to support fellow Kenyans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, March 29, the Victor Wanyama foundation in collaboration with Kenya Red Cross, Africa Yoga Project and the Gina Din Foundation donated sanitizing kits and essential food items to more than 200 families in Mathare, Nairobi.
"The people who are back home living in the ghettos are being told to stay at home, but they have nothing to eat. So I tried to reach out and tried to give what I can give.
"They are grateful and they are good people," Wanyama told the Canadian publication.Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama during a match against Bournemouth in the 2017/18 season.Talk Sport
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