NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – A famous motivational quote goes; “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs”, and Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama has taken the advice literally as he prepares to begin his Major League Soccer campaign proper.
Wanyama had just joined the United States top-flight, signing for Thierry Henry’s Montreal Impact, and played one match, a Champions League tie, before the sweeping effects of the coronavirus pandemic caused a stoppage to world sports.
Despite the little bump in his first ride in the MLS train, Wanyama is keeping himself ready for a restart in the league that had only gone into the new campaign by two matches.
Top of his stay-at-home training regime is running through 46 flights of stairs at his Montreal apartment daily as additional training.
“I stay at an apartment in the City with 50 floors and I live on the 46th floor. So every day, as part of my extra training, I go down to the ground floor and run up to the 46th floor to my doorstep. It is tough, but I have to do it to remain fit so that when everything goes back to normal I will be ready to go on,” Wanyama told Capital Sport from Montreal.
He added that the coaches at the club have given them daily routines and they train together twice a day via video-conferencing app Zoom.
“The club has provided for us some bikes and gym equipment to complement what we are already doing. We also have several gym sessions and all this is still in isolation. Training alone is not easy but as professional players, we need to work hard,” stated the midfielder.
Wanyama made his debut for Montreal on March 11, barely a week after joining the side and provided an assist as they lost to Olimpia 2-1 in a Champions League tie.
The tough and robust midfielder had looked forward to turning his around his season after struggling with Tottenham Hotspur where he was limited to very few starts in the new campaign after a summer move out of the club failed to materialize.
“I had really prepared well to get my football back in Montreal and had worked hard in training. I had only played one game before the virus halted the season. The team had also done some good preparation and had won one and drawn the other of the first two league games of the season,” Wanyama further states.
He adds; “It has definitely been difficult to settle down well because this happened so fast and I was yet to know the city well, but it is what it is. I have very good teammates and they have helped me so much at the moment and I know soon enough I will catch up.”
“The virus has really slowed things down but as now we just have to continue practicing what the health professionals are telling us and hopefully, we will overcome and we can get our football back soon,” he added.
American authorities are looking at June for a possible date of opening up sports activities where clubs can be allowed to train in groups before the season gets back with a probability of mid-June.
“I am really raring to go because I have that hunger back, I have my happiness back and now I just want to enjoy my football, enjoy the city and do well for the club. I would want to win something with the club as well because that is the biggest reason I came here,” states the midfielder.
On working with Arsenal and Barcelona legend Henry as his head coach, Wanyama can’t wait to get started and drink from the well of knowledge that is the former France national team captain and world cup winner.
“He reached out to me before I signed and the conversation we had was enough to convince me to trust in the project. He has very good experience and has achieved a lot in England and Spain as well as with France. His influence will be very important to the team and I am looking forward to learning from him,” Wanyama notes.
Meanwhile, the Stars skipper will continue working the stairs from the middle of Montreal, biking and running on the road to ensure he keeps his fitness intact and get ready for his adventure in North America.