United’s eFootball history-makers
Manchester United's eFootball.Pro team is up and running. Here, the four players tell the story of how they came to represent the Reds…
Meet United’s ground-breaking new efootball team. The four-man global line-up of Eldridge O'Niel, Kamel El Morabet, Mikolaj Zietek and Wishal Jaswan Changoer will represent the Reds against nine other European giants in the eFootball.Pro competition, held by Konami.
Each of them reflected on their reaction to being signed up by United, and how the team bonded during a 10-day stay in Manchester, kicking off with team captain Eldridge O’Niel...
ELDRIDGE O'NIEL (E_c_oneill)
“When United first made contact, we had a very long conversation on the phone and I remember being so happy after we hung up. The club showed genuine interest in me as a player. I called my brother (Gyliano van Velzen) immediately to talk about it – he played for the youth academy for three years [in the FA Youth Cup-winning squad with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard].
“All of us were invited to come over to Manchester for a 10-day training camp… we were buzzing. For the biggest club in the world to ask us to represent them is on a whole other level. We had a meeting with the club’s esports team, where the plans for the entire week were laid out. At the end we all received own personalised Manchester United clothing. We all went crazy.
“Next up, all of us were taken to the Aon Training Complex, where we were shown our own game room which would be our practice area for the remaining days. In the gaming room we all grew closer as a team by joking, getting to know each other and speaking about each other’s lives. We came to the realisation that we were living the dream together. From that moment on, you could see that a new family was born.
“A few days later we went to the United v Villa match and, despite the result, we enjoyed ourselves so much. This was the first time any of us had attended a match in hospitality at Old Trafford before.
“Once we had officially signed the contracts we all celebrated, because it is such a big achievement. From playing for fun in your home with your siblings and friends, to representing the biggest club in the world. It has been a long journey for most of us. But now we are all proud to be part of the United family.”
KAMEL EL MORABET (Kams10_)
“The day I was contacted by United was amazing. The club explained the project and how they were very interested in recruiting me and that my personality and achievements would fit perfectly. It was an honour that United recognised and liked my achievements and dedication to eFootball PES.
“At the beginning of the training camp, I initially thought that 10 days would be too much, but at the end I was saying that it wasn’t enough because we enjoyed it so much. The club introduced us to so many important people and we really felt that we were part of the United family.
“We watched two matches, against Villa and Tottenham, and I remember the atmosphere before the match started. When Rashford scored the first goal against Tottenham, I screamed a lot. I was caught up in the passion of Old Trafford. From that moment on, I was a United fan.”
WISHAL CHANGOER (The_Almighty_DS)
“I was at work when I first heard from United. At first I couldn't believe it. Then I felt immense pride to have a chance to play for the biggest club in the world.
“Then I felt immense pride to have a chance to play for the biggest club in the world. When it was confirmed, I was so excited. I was lost for words. The days at training camp where simply amazing, especially the way United welcomed us. We met with the first team which was great, and also got to go on a tour of Old Trafford to learn more about the history of the club.
“We had a gaming room at the Aon Training Complex, which included multiple PlayStations, monitors, gaming chairs and more than enough food and drinks to keep us at our best while we trained.
“The four of us really bonded with each other and the club. Team chemistry is really important and the training camp helped us a lot in building that.”
eFootball.Pro: Behind the scenes
We take an inside look at how United's esports team have prepared for Konami's eFootball.Pro tournament...
MIKOLAJ ZIETEK (Ostrybuch)
“When I received the call from Manchester United asking me if I wanted to represent the club I was in total shock. They asked me if I was available to meet in person, so I got invited to United’s Europa League match against Partizan Belgrade. We had amazing seats. The fans were shouting, screaming and jumping for the entire game. I remember feeling the stadium shake. When I got back home this made me think. Could this really mean I will be playing for Manchester United?
“In preparation, I started to play the best players that I could find. I put in so many hours of practice each day just so I could achieve my dream, which was to play for an amazing club and perform at the biggest stage.”