- Colette Ndzana, Cameroon’s star at Buenos Aires 2018
- Passionate about both futsal and football
- Featured in FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 qualifiers
Ndzana is a very common surname in central Cameroon, yet what is far less abundant in Yaounde and the surrounding region are players blessed with the talent to play both football and futsal. Colette Ndzana is one of the gifted few, and her ability shined through in every Cameroon match in the Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018.
“Playing football makes me happy, and I love futsal as well,” the softly-spoken Ndzana told FIFA.com. “Where I’m from there’s no footballing infrastructure and no futsal court near my house. I’ve been playing for two years, but it’s only within the last month that I’ve stepped up my preparations in order to be ready for this tournament,” she admitted.
Despite only having 30 days training under her belt, Ndzana still managed to net a hat-trick in her side’s 5-0 win over Chile. It was Cameroon’s second victory in the tournament but also their last, given that their third-place finish in the group means elimination. Ndzana was very much the star of the show for Cameroon, captaining the side, top-scoring with six goals and leading the assists table with seven.
Honing skills through futsal
In Cameroon, “futsal serves as a launchpad from which players take the best aspects of their game to 11-a-side football,” commented national team coach Louis Epee. “If you play futsal then it makes playing football easier. Through it you hone the finer details of your game,” added Ndzana.
Her words are not mere platitudes, given that in the qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 she played as a left winger for her country and scored a goal. In addition to Ndzana transferring her skills from one discipline to another, five of her team-mates in Buenos Aires will also appear at next month’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.
“Colette has the pace, tactical awareness and physique to shine at both football and futsal,” commented Epee.
The footballing bug was passed down through the family by her father, himself an ex-player. “Football is really important in my family,” 18-year-old Ndzana revealed. The tournament has been an emotionally moving event for the 18-year-old, as one of her passions has taken her as far as the capital of Argentina, 8,400 km from her home.
“This is the very first time I’ve left Africa and it’s been an amazing experience for me,” she enthused. “What I’ve seen here is very different to what I’ve come across back in Cameroon.”