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Bobby Kamwa talks Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds United ‘Murderball’ and journey from Douala to Dunfermline

Demands: Bielsa and Kamwa
Demands: Bielsa and Kamwa

Bobby Kamwa is adamant he won’t be fazed by the rough-and-tumble of Scottish football after surviving Marcelo Bielsa’s infamous ‘Murderball’.

Kamwa, 21, has joined Dunfermline on loan from Leeds United and could be handed a quick-fire debut when the Pars face Queen of the South on Saturday.

Although yet to make his senior bow for the Elland Road outfit, the Cameroon-born front-man is no stranger to training with the first-team, crossing swords with the likes of Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha.

And he has opened up on Bielsa’s fearsome training methods, insisting they have afforded him a grounding to succeed.

“It’s tough,” smiled Kamwa, reflecting on life under the Argentine. “It’s not easy and when [Bielsa] first came, we all had to adapt.

Demands: Bielsa

“That’s just talking about the intensity of the sessions — he gets you really fit for games.

“The hardest bit about it is the ‘Murderball’. That’s 11 vs 11 and you’ve got coaches on the pitch holding balls, so if a ball goes out they’ll throw one in straight in; no breaks.

“There are no fouls allowed and it’s tough — but you get a lot of out of it.

“I’ve been training with the first-team regularly and I was waiting for my chance to come at Leeds. But it’s hard when you’ve got a side that’s doing well.

This season, I thought it’s time for me to play. I decided it was the best time for me to come on loan and play some football.

“I’ve seen what top players at Leeds do and I’ve been trying to learn from that. Hopefully, I can bring that to Dunfermline.”

From Douala to Dunfermline

Although his progress has somewhat stalled since reportedly being told he was free to leave Leeds last summer, Kamwa boasts an impressive pedigree during his time at the Thorp Arch academy.

Kamwa in full flow

In 2018, Kamwa was named player of the tournament at the prestigious Aspire youth competition in Qatar as Leeds lifted the trophy.

He was handed a two-year deal as recently as 2020 and helped Leeds claim the PL [Premier League] 2 Division Two title last year.

All of which was achieved after arriving in Yorkshire at the age of nine from Cameroon, with no command of the language.

Now boasting a broad Leeds twang to his voice, Kamwa is evidently a determined, adaptable young man.

“The language barrier was the hardest thing because I was coming from a French-speaking country,” continued Kamwa.

“When I arrived, I didn’t speak a word of English. So, going to school was really difficult. Having to make friends and stuff like that was hard because of the language barrier.

“Even the food…I wasn’t used to the English food! But as the years went on, I adapted.

“Now, it’s basically my second home.

“It didn’t take me too long to learn [English]. After a year, I could speak it fluently. As soon as it started to click, it wasn’t too bad.”

He added: “I took that perspective into football, in terms of having different managers and adapting to challenges.”

Shop window

Out of contract with Leeds in the summer, the likelihood is that Kamwa will leave the club.

The next five months are an invaluable platform to illustrate his talent to potential suitors, including Dunfermline.

Prospect: Kamwa

“It’s a shop window for me,” added Kamwa. “I’m trying to do the best I can. Dunfermline have given me a platform.

“It’s football and you never know how things could change. At the moment, I’m just focused on the loan.”

Having turned out for the Pars in a bounce game on Tuesday, Kamwa is expected to be in the Dunfermline squad at Palmerston Park.

“I’m ready,” he declared. “I’ve done a few [fitness] tests and they show I’m ready.

“I’ve been training hard at Leeds — you don’t get much resting time there — and you’re always pushing. I’m ready to go and hopefully we can get a win.”

Who is Bobby Kamwa? Dunfermline’s kid from Cameroon, Leeds United title winner and star in Qatar

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