Quinton Fortune UTD podcast article

    Quinton revealed he was initially forced to play rugby rather than his first love of football, but after an intervention from his mum when she moved him to another school, he never looked back.

    “I played for everyone, I was that kid!” he joked. “I just loved playing football and I’m just glad I did because if you weren’t playing football you ended up doing something really bad, simple as that. I played for my local team but I didn’t play for my school team because my first language was Dutch and depending where you were born you had to play rugby and I couldn’t play rugby to save my life! [Laughs] I played my first game and got hurt and I went home and told my mum. Bless my mum, she then came into school and took me out of that one and put me in another school, purely for football reasons. It was opposite the house and that changed everything when I started playing for my new school team.

    “I then got a place with the Provincial Team and things changed after that. Firstly I had a white coach, Colin Gie, and that was the first time I’d had any interaction with a white person. Our team was the first multi-racial team. Before that I only played with black players and then we had a mixed team and we were allowed to play with white players. We were 13 or 14 years old and it was totally natural to all play together, there was nothing about race or anything, it was amazing and we ended up winning the national tournament together.

    “My coach Colin came to me after a tournament and asked if I would like to go to England. I said yes, of course,” continues Quinton. “It was like a ticket out of the ghettos, I was like ‘let’s go!’ He had to get permission from my parents because I was a minor but mum and dad signed the paperwork for him to be my guardian. Colin was just a local, South African guy and he took me out of school at 14 before I came to England and he trained me for six to eight months, three times a day at his house on my own.

    “He saw something in me and he helped build me up and get me ready for the competition that was to come when I came to England. That time was probably the biggest test of my career, but I was so desperate to get out of the country. That’s what kept me going. I never wanted to go back to life before that. I saw so much I didn’t want to see – the drugs, the fighting, the shootings… no kid is supposed to see that. So in the back of my mind when the opportunity came I had that fear of not wanting to go back and that drove me on. That fear kept me going.”

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