Sunderland Football Club have gone through some very negative patch in their recent history, getting down from the Premier League in 2016/17 season to fighting in League Two during the 2018/19 season. Such a quick turnaround of events is always hazardous for a club, especially for a club of Sunderland’s stature.
Amidst all this negativity, the Black Cats deserve something positive. The only silver lining to their current black cloud is the 16-year-old Bali Mumba, who made his senior debut last season against Wolves in the Championship.
The amazing and a surprising thing was when he made a brief appearance coming on as a substitute in the 87th minute, he was handed the captain’s armband by John O’Shea, who he came on to replace. This turned the pages of Sunderland history to note down the youngest ever captain to take the field in senior level football.
This was a clear statement of intent from the club that the England U17 star is here for the future, and that they don’t want to lose him for the next few years. Hilariously enough, months before he took the captain’s armband for the senior team, he was writing his GCSE exams.
Reflecting on his debut (h/t Chronicle Live), Mumba was surprised by the fact that he was called up to take part in a senior game, let alone the U23s. He thanked coach Robbie Stockdale for providing him with the opportunity. The teenager was also surprised and honoured to witness a legendary player like O’Shea handing him the armband.
Mumba would now be expected to be the next star at the Stadium of Light, where darkness has been surrounding the club. Having been praised at such a young age, England national team coaches should take note of this player.
Talking about his playing style, Mumba is a defensive midfielder by trade and is versatile enough to slot in centre-back role when required. He is a strong, diminutive player who is good on the ball and possesses a fantastic game awareness to cover the ground protecting the defensive line.
He is sure to become something special in the near future for English football and Sunderland should offer him ample opportunities.
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