' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '

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' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '

Postby Forever Blue » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:13 am

How life turned out for huge Cardiff City flop Frederic Gounongbe

The Benin striker on his new career and what happened while he was with the Bluebirds

By Ben James

Tuesday 10th September 2019

Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe

"I'd do it all again if I could," explains Frederic Gounongbe down the phone. "I don't regret anything."

Cardiff City fans could be forgiven for forgetting Gounongbe.

If they do remember him, it might be for missing an open goal from two yards out against Birmingham City on his debut.

"I had some nightmares the next night. I can't say if I'd scored, my future would have been different," he adds.

"But as a new players in the team, it's always hard to miss a chance like that when you're trying to make an impression.

"That's part of the job. Sh*t happens."

The Benin striker only left the Bluebirds in 2018 - a month or two before they started their brief foray in the Premier League - yet once he was gone, he seemingly vanished without a trace.

So what is he up to now?

"I'm retired," he explains. "It's been a year now that I made the decision, just after Cardiff.

"I had a big injury in my first year at Cardiff and through the two years, I had many problems with that injury - needing operations and injections.

"The second year, just after I left Cardiff, I made the decision with my doctor to hang up my boots. He said to me that if I wanted to walk without pain in the future, I needed to make this decision. It was one I had to make for my health.

"So after that, I retired. I went back to university and I have just graduated in an asset management school. I'm just trying to help athletes manage their money.

"It's quite different to what I was doing two years ago."

Indeed, those two years seem a lifetime ago. In his two seasons in south Wales, he made just 15 appearances - failing to record a goal or a win in a Cardiff shirt.

Despite all that, he looks back fondly on his time in the Welsh capital.

Frederic Gounongbe:

"I had an incredible experience," he recalls.

"The people around the club were amazing, the players and the supporters."

It's even more astounding as Gounongbe's struggles extended beyond the pitch.

"The two years were the two most difficult of my life, so it was mixed feelings," he explains.

"But life is like that. Good moments and bad moments."

Within a month of arriving, Gounongbe sustained the injury that would effectively lead to his retirement and kickstart a torrid time in Cardiff on the football front.

He also suffered the emotional agony of his mother being diagnosed and passing away from cancer during his time in Wales.

"I had to go back to Belgium as she was sick. Later she passed away," he remembers.

"That and the fact I was injured made it a very difficult time. But conversely, the support I had from the club was incredible.

"When Neil Warnock came in, I had big support from him. He was very friendly and understanding.

"When I first heard the bad news, I wanted to go back to Belgium and be with her as I knew it was important.

"Every day off the gaffer gave me, I flew back to Brussels. With Warnock, I had many conversations with him. He was very understanding.

"He told me family and health are way more important than football. That's what marks him out as a coach. He's very human. Every player on the bench and reserves is ready to help and fight for him.

"That's not always the case. I wanted to come back fit, even with everything that was going on. That was for him. I can't thank him enough."

Interestingly, Gounongbe speaks enthusiastically about Warnock given how the Yorkshireman only handed him one start after taking over from Paul Trollope.

Trollope had signed Gounongbe and started him in nine matches before being given the boot months into his Cardiff reign.

"I had mixed feelings when Paul was sacked as he had signed me. Straight away, I wasn't performing," he says.

"In a new country and style of football, that was testing. So the first month was difficult, then I got injured and Trollope got sacked.

"I felt guilty as I was his signing and I didn't deliver. Then the new gaffer came in and straight away, he benched me and some others.

"But this time I was playing a bit better, with my injury, just to show him I can come back. He trusted me and wanted to play me again, but I wasn't able to as the injury got worse.

"I couldn't bear the pain. So again, it was frustrating as he trusted me but couldn't play me."

Yet even though things didn't exactly go to plan on or off the pitch, Gounongbe still considers himself a Bluebird.

"It's like a family. One of my best friends now is Bruno Manga," he adds.

"We call each other every day now. That's all down to Cardiff.

"I keep an eye on their results. I watched every single game of the Premier League in Belgium.

"I phoned Bruno after every match and I was still calling the team 'us' or 'we'. I still felt a part of it.

"Even now, I tell people the Welsh are so welcoming and friendly. I don't think the people living there realise that.

"I grew up in Africa and then lived in Belgium and travelled a lot - and I never met people like that."

So what does the future hold for Gounongbe?

"There's a problem in football with a lot of players going bankrupt in the five years after they retire. That's why I decided to do asset management," he explains.

"I'm just helping friends and I want to focus on that. People used to call me while I was playing for advice with money.

"My goal is to make a company in Belgium and build around that - helping Belgian and French-based players financially.

"But I don't want that to be big. I just want to help my friends. I want to keep it human."
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' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '


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Re: ' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '

Postby Bluebird Warrior » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:44 pm

Fair play to him seems like a really nice guy.
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Re: ' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '

Postby moonboots » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:33 pm

Bluebird Warrior wrote:Fair play to him seems like a really nice guy.

He does. Like you say...fair play to him
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Re: ' Former Cardiff City man Frederic Gounongbe '

Postby Ninianman » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:10 pm

His £10,000 a week must been helpful in his decision to retire !!!
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