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The Player's corner : "I thought I was cursed"

Chimel Kiala Vita is a Congolese Futsal player in France, playing as a forward for Kremlin-Bicetre United, a club from Paris. Chimel had a long playing career, with ups and downs, scoring a lot of goals for his teams and winning trophies, and now he would like to share his passion with kids. Read his story in his own words.

Chimel Kiala Vita with KB United jersey on

Chimel Kiala Vita

Futsal striker

Congo, Kremlin-Bicêtre United

"One thing I don’t like to do too much is speak about myself. Putting myself in the spotlights. It’s not my thing. But I love Futsal, my sport, and I like to talk about it. I am Chimel Kiala Vita. I started Futsal in 2000 at Union Sportive d’Ivry, a club nearby Paris. The sport was just at its beginning back then in my country. In 2004, we reached the French national cup final which we lost, but I ended up best scorer of the tournament with 13 goals. It was my first lost final. Until 2007, I lost four finals. I was starting to wonder if I was cursed.

But things started to change. There’s been a turning point in my life. In 2005, I lost my dad. He was a mentor for me. I had started to play football because of him. He was a congolese professional player, played in Gil Vicente in Portugal. He was passionate about football. He was always behind me. Football was our bond. I was looking up at him.

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He passed away at the hospital, and I was with him when it happened. I was devastated but very quickly I understood I had a new responsibility towards my mum, my brothers and sisters. The following year was very hard for me, I was a bit lost. But I hanged on and Futsal was my space of freedom and the place where I knew I can count on my friends, my teammates.

This moment pushed me to grow as a man, it built my character, it triggered something in me. A couple of years later, I won the French National Cup with Issy Futsal and this same year we played the Champions League, a fantastic experience. In 2009, I joined Kremlin-Bicetre United and meanwhile, Futsal got better structured in France. The national league started in 2010 and we won it immediately.

Chimel Kiala Vita in action with his futsal club, KB United

That lead us to the preliminary round of the Champions League in Iceland. We were not favourites, we were maybe even not the best team. PSV Eindhoven was in our group, and they could count on Dutch international players. But we gave everything, we played as a team, as a group of friends, we would not let go. And we made it, we won the round and qualified for the main competition. That was maybe our best ever achievement, and mine too. I have scored 17 goals in this tournament, which is still a record in Europe.

Things seemed to finally be on the right track for me. But life can be cruel sometimes. In 2012, I had another loss in my family. My little sister, who was 20, passed away. A terrible moment for my family. My mum had lost her husband a few years earlier which is obviously devastating. But losing a child, that should never happen... For me, she was my little sister, the one who was always following my steps, the one I was protecting.

I managed to stand still and not crack up thanks to my faith. From then on, I even had more the feeling that I had to honor the memory of my dad and my sister. So I kept on going, kept on scoring, kept on winning. I piled up the trophies : I won five Cups and three Leagues, I have scored 43 goals in 2014, the second best total in Europe, I have scored 26 goals in 21 matches in European competitions... I am proud of my achievements even if I don’t like to say it too loud. I keep my feelings for myself, that’s how I am. On the field of play though, I put everything out.

Now I am getting closer to the end of my playing career. And I feel the need to share my experience with the youngest ones. I want to train kids, serve them in some ways. I want to help them grow as Futsal helped me grow. It’s a transmission feeling. My wish is to make them benefit from my passion and my experience. Just like my dad did with me some years ago.

I have a project in this direction, which should see the light rather sooner than later. I won't tell more until things really happen, but I hope it will be the case soon... "

Chimel Kiala Vita scoring for his Futsal club, Kremlin-Bicetre United