Gome’s long journey to Europa League qualifiers

By Michael Uugwanga

WANGU Gome did not have the best start to his professional football career in South Africa at Bidvest Wits and Cape Umoya United due to career-threatening injuries; however the situation has since shifted.

Gome (27) first signed his professional contract at Bidvest Wits in 2015, a few months after helping the Brave Warriors win the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Cup in South Africa and was voted the best player of the tournament.

However, things at Wits did not work out as planned and he was loaned out to Civics in the Namibia Premier League (NPL).

In 2017, Gome returned to Wits, however his performance was not what the Wits coaching staff wanted and that resulted in him being released on a free transfer to Platinum Stars – now known as Cape Umoya after the club franchise was sold.

At Umoya things also did not turn out the way he expected and Gome returned to Civics once again for the 2018/2019 season, until in March when his two agents Hareni Mbaeva and Timo Haukambe facilitated his move to Armenia and the rest is now history.

Today, Gome plays professional football in Armenia’s top flight league and his team Alashkert will be playing in the UEFA Europa League qualifier stage after helping his club finish third on the log in the just ended Armenia league; despite him only having joined the club in March this year.

Alashkert will only find out about their qualification matches to next season’s Europa League after the UEFA Champions league final and the UEFA Europa Cup final next month.

Gome has played 11 times for Alashkert and was instrumental in his team’s qualification to Europa League.

Europa League club competition is Europe’s second tier club competition currently being contested by some of the world’s top clubs such as Manchester United, Inter Milan, Roma, Wolverhampton, Seville and Bayern Leverkusen.

If his club manages to reach the proper group stage of the Europa League, Gome could find himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Antony Martial, and Marcus Rashford (all of Manchester United) if their side fails to finish in the top four of the English Premier League or if Manchester United fails to win the Europa League this season.

Other possible players Gome could be facing in the Europa League are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), in case Arsenal wins the FA Cup against Chelsea in August and against Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in case Hotspur finishes in the top seven of the English Premier League.

In an interview with Confidente Sports Desk, Gome could not hide his excitement.

“It will be a good opportunity for me and a big honour to be playing against all the other teams that worked very hard to qualify to the Europa League. It is an accomplishment for the team as a whole because we worked hard to qualify for the Europa League qualification process before the proper group stage,” said Gome.

Despite not having been given adequate time at Wits, Gome still has a soft spot for the club. “I was at Wits for two seasons and moved on because of lack of game time and at Umoya I signed a one-year contract and then I had to go for an operation and it is part of the game.

“I was never injured when I was at Wits. I am currently injury free ever since I moved here (Armenia).  I am always in contact with them (Wits) because we will always be family,” he said.

Gome was born in Rundu in the Kavango-East region and grew up in Windhoek.

His football talent was discovered while playing in the Namibia Football Association (NFA) U17 league for Ramblers, Spartan, Centaurus and for Khomas Chiefs before he joined Rebels and later Civics.