PV chats with Assimiou Toure in Germany

20 August 2009 at 05:58 | 2647 views

There are many African players in the German Bundesliga, but the career of Assimiou Toure (photo) is exceptional by any account. Raised in Germany with a Togolese backround, the 18-year-old was called up to join the Togolese world cup squad in 2006 without having played in the Bundesliga before. Touré was one of the most promising talents in Germany, but all of a sudden a severe injury stopped his career for almost two years. The Patriotic Vanguard’s Thomas Meinders caught up with him recently and had this conversation with him:

PV: How long have you lived in Germany?

Touré: I was born in Togo, but I came to Germany, when I was four years old. So I grew up here.

PV: You played in the youth squad of Bayer Leverkusen and the German U-18 national team. How did the contact with Togo’s team happen?

Touré: Ghana’s former international Anthony Baffoe saw me playing at Leverkusen. We talked and he asked, if I was interested in playing for my home country. But apart from a first contact with the then team manager Stephen Keshi, nothing happend. Not until Otto Pfister coached the team was I was invited for the first time.

PV: At this time you are mostly unknown to football fans. You came into focus when you were called up to join the Togolese world cup squad. Was it as surprising for you as it was for the outsiders?

Touré: Totally, I mean, I hoped to be part of the team, but to be honest I quit thinking about it by that time, because I had not heard anything from the association for over two months. But all of the sudden, our manager Rudi Völler called me up and told me, that I had the invitation. I couldn’t believe it for a few days.

PV: But you were not only part of the team, you actually played.

Touré: Yes, I came in as a substitute in our first match against Korea and played the full 90 minutes against Switzerland. I think I managed it very well.

PV: The following season you debuted in the Bundesliga and the UEFA-Cup. What were your feelings?

Touré: It was just great. That’s what I always hoped for since I was little. I was ball boy and fan. Now to actually to play with this team was unbelievable.

PV: It would remain your only Bundesliga match. The next summer you went on a two-year loan to second league club VfL Osnabrück. A good start followed the big disaster.

Touré: I made the first games, was always in the starting squad, but in the third minute of our match against FC St.Pauli it happened. Me and an opponent clashed and I knew immediately, that that was a heavy injury.

PV: You broke your shin, your calf bone and had a compartement-syndrome. Did you think, this is the end of your career?

Touré: At first, yes. I mean, if the doctors would have noticed the compartement-syndrome a few hours later, it would have been possible that they had to amputate my leg. It was a very hard time. At first, they told me that I could probably play again in six months, but for me it took one and a half year to recover.

PV: Now you are fit again, back at Leverkusen and trying to have a new start?

Touré: For the first weeks, I’m going to play for the second team, which plays in the fourth tier of the German league system, to get match practice and prove to our coach Jupp Heynckes, that I’m back and ready to play in the Bundesliga again. I have also played for Togo again. Since the match against Cameroon, I’m part of the squad once more.

PV: Apart from your matches with the Togolese national squad, do you still have contact with Africa?

Touré: I still have family in Togo, my father lives there and many aunts and uncles as well. But most of the contact is via telephone and when I’m there with the team.

PV: Mr. Touré, thank you very much for time and good luck in your career.