WISBECH: Football teamed named after former Fenmen manager wins cup tournament.
EXCLUSIVE by: ADAM LAZZARI WISBECH Town Football Club s popular former manager Roy McManus is travelling to Togo next month to check on the progress of a team he helped to set up three years ago. Roy, 56, has been involved with the Fenmen since he was a
EXCLUSIVE by: ADAM LAZZARI
WISBECH Town Football Club's popular former manager Roy McManus is travelling to Togo next month to check on the progress of a team he helped to set up three years ago.
Roy, 56, has been involved with the Fenmen since he was a 10-year-old ball-boy at Fenland Park and has since been a Wisbech player and manager.
He travelled to the small West African country three years ago to visit his brother Andrew who teaches music in a school in the capital, Lome.
The school is close to where Arsenal's multi-million pound striker Emmanuel Adebayor was born.
Andrew, 52, has taught music all over the world and has been living in Togo for three years.
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Roy said: "I quickly discovered how much they love football over there. I saw many people kicking cans and bits of rubbish through the streets because they didn't have any footballs to play with."
Roy has since sent old Wisbech Town strips and footballs to Lome and the team Roy McManus Rovers FC was set up in his name.
He said: "These people live in very poor conditions - they have nothing. But to watch how much they enjoy playing football is incredible.
"You can see it helps them to forget about their problems and lots of people from the city come to watch their matches."
The team is in its first competitive season and the manager, Pawumotom Plassi, sent a text message from Togo last week to tell Roy that the team had just won a cup.
It said: "We won the cup 5-4 on penalties. It's a lovely silver cup which we will be waiting to show you when you arrive."
The manager has also asked Roy to be the club's president.
Roy flies out on October 21 and he will spend a week watching the team and coaching. He has even been given permission by the Togo Football Federation to hold a coaching session in the country's national football stadium.
Roy said: "The national team play World Cup qualifiers and African Nations Cup matches in this stadium so it will be a really exciting experience for both myself and the players to go there.
"The national federation saw what I was doing and they were only too happy to help.
"Teams like Arsenal have several African players in their squad and on my visit to the country I could see there was plenty of talent there. The problem is when they get into a game situation and they need some proper coaching.
"But I have some contacts at West Bromwich Albion and Peterborough United and if I see any players with real potential I'll let them know. It could be a completely life-changing experience for them.