Whilst many Hertha fans came to join us at our anniversary celebrations at the training ground, there were also lots of happy faces in our head offices. To complete this blue-and-white day, Wilfried Kanga signed a contract with us here at Hertha BSC. “I simply had the feeling that I was ready to make a step like this,” smiled the attacker, who has moved to Berlin from BSC Young Boys. Our new number 18 wants to come here and prove himself. “I’ve always taken every stage of my career step by step, and to that I include working hard to achieve my dreams and goals! It’s shaped me as a person,” revealed the striker. Before getting down to work in the capital, our sixth signing of the summer held an interview with herthabsc.com, introducing himself through his nickname “Willy”, which is apparently not the only one. He also discussed old friends and learning processes that he’s gone through during his career.
herthabsc.com: Willy, welcome to Berlin, welcome to Hertha! To start with, can you explain to us what your main reasons were for signing for our club?
Kanga: Thank you! I had the feeling that I was ready to make a step like this. Hertha expressed their interest and therefore opened up the opportunity for me to play in the Bundesliga. I’d always dreamt of being able to have the chance to prove myself in such a big competition, and Hertha was the club who wanted me the most and who gave me the feeling that I’m needed here. It’s a great club which has everything I need to help me develop as a player!”
herthabsc.com: New club, new goals – what are your objectives now you’ve joined the Blue-Whites?
Kanga: I want to continue my personal development and get better as a player. Of course, I’d also like to score as many goals as possible for the team, so that we can put last year behind us and perform better. We’ve got a good team here, I’m sure of that – and now it’s time to see just what we can do!
herthabsc.com: Starting your career in Paris, you had several spells in France and Turkey before you went to Bern and played in the UEFA Champions League. What did you learn from your time at your previous clubs, both as a player and as a person?
Kanga: Obviously, I learnt a fair bit! Even as a young player, I’ve already played at a high level and with some talented teammates, which has helped me to quickly improve as a player in just the early stages of my career. There’ve also been some difficult moments, too, but I’ve always taken every stage of my career step by step, and that’s how I’ve been able to overcome them. I include working hard for my dreams and goals in that! It helped shape me as a person and made me the player that I am today.
herthabsc.com: Next up are two questions that we ask every new Hertha player: How would you describe yourself as a player? What can the fans expect from you?
Kanga: (laughs and thinks briefly) Erm... I’m a player who fights until the end, doesn’t let anything go and who never gives up. I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges, I always want to win, score goals and help my team!
[>]I’m a player who fights until the end, doesn’t let anything go and who never gives up. I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges, I always want to win, score goals and help my team![<]
herthabsc.com: Whilst in Bern, you played with a Hertha BSC legend: Fabian Lustenberger! Did you speak to him before signing for us?
Kanga: No, but I knew that Fabian played here for a long time and had a brilliant time in Berlin. I’ll definitely get in contact with him and get some advice off in. He was also captain here and will be a great person to get in touch with (laughs).
herthabsc.com: Whilst at PSG, you played with, amongst others, RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku. Did you ask him or other colleagues for their opinions on the Bundesliga here before you transferred here?
Kanga: It’s another no. I kept quiet about the move until everything was confirmed. Now that it’s official, I’ll definitely ask around a bit – I often chat with Christopher and I’ll have some questions for him, and given the season he just played, I think he’ll have some good advice for me.
herthabsc.com: Three of your compatriots, Lucas Tousart, Kélian Nsona and Myziane Maolida, are here at Hertha. Do you know any of them already?
Kanga: I know their names and have seen them play before, but we’re yet to meet in person – we will, of course, in time!
herthabsc.com: Whilst we’re on the subject of getting to know people and introductions, do you have a preferred nickname
Kanga: I’ve got two: Willo and WIlly. I find both completley OK, some friends call me one, some the other, so you can make your own decision!
herthabsc.com: You’re moving from one capital city to another, from Bern to Berlin! Do you know our city at all? Have you been here before?
Kanga: I don’t know the whole city, but I went to Berlin once and I really enjoyed my first visit! The city is big and really beautiful, it’s got everything you need in life. My first impressions were great!