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Angolan Striker Set For Manchester United Trial

The Angolan league's top goalscorer, Manucho, is all set for a trial at Old Trafford
with Manchester United...

Petro Luanda star Manucho has been invited for a trial with English Premier
League side Manchester United, according to Angop news agency.

The state-run broadcaster claims that Manucho flew out to Old Trafford on
Tuesday to commence a spell of training with the Red Devils, with a possible view
to a longer move.

The striker managed 16 goals in Angola's top division, the Girabola, in the last
campaign, which ended in November. This was added to his previous total of 15
for the 2006 season.

Since the current season is over, the Luanda-based Petro outfit have not been
deprived of one of their top players, but with the versatile attacker also set to
take part in the African Cup of Nations in January, it is thought that his trial will
end long before January.

Only one Angolan, Jordao of West Bromwich Albion's 2002/03 season, has played
in the Premier League so far.

Steve Michaels,

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According to a Middle - Eastern newspaper Petro Luanda have sign a Kenyan striker
Allan Wanga as a replacement for Manucho, giving the impression that Manucho has a future at United. Wanga said he hopes to fill the void left by Manucho.

Name : Manucho Goncalves na Santana
Nationality : Angolan
Age : 31
Position : Striker

Manucho's meteoric rise to fame has been so extreme he is training with the biggest club in the world, Manchester United of Manchester, England. He's been given two weeks to prove his worth to the Godfather of European football, Sir Alex Ferguson. Even though it will mainly be left to his assistant Carlos Louiza Queiroz, the man who invited Goncalves in the first place, to make the judgment call on the strikers abilities, there is no doubt Sir Alex will have the last word. "He can handle the level at United," Manucho's agent and former star of English football, Steve Ogrizovic, predicts. "It's a million miles away from the Angolan Girabola South West division, but then Manucho is head and shoulders above every other player in Angola."

Indeed he has been for the past two seasons. So how did that happen? He worked as a carpet salesman and played lower division football three years ago. And then, at 28, something very special happened to Manucho Goncalves. So special in fact, American news show '60 minutes' is planing to make a segment on him. "I simply went to bed, feeling fine, and did not wake up until 3 weeks later in a hospital 200 kilometers away from where I fell asleep!" He laughs out loud at the thought of this. But what had happened to him is no laughing matter. He suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage and was inches, seconds from death. "When I finally came to I did not feel the way I used to." he says. "I couldn't speak properly but I felt very strong and I had this enormous inexplicable desire to draw everything around me. I couldn't speak, so i drawed." he laugs. The strange thing was, he was very good at it. He had hardly held a pencil or a paint brush in his life, and now he was turning heads with beautiful, realistic drawings and paintings. His brain was completely transformed as a result of the haemorrhage and he was, is and will forever be suffering from a kind of autism. The medical term for autistic people with one or several extreme talents is savant. Dustin Hoffman portrayed one in the movie 'Rainman', but while Manucho's gifts are great, he has a very light form of autism and only a slight facial tick every now and again suggest you're talking to a man with a very special brain.

Special is also a fitting word for Goncalves' first football training after the brain haemorrhage. "I was feeling very strong all through my rehabilitation. I lifted weights I couldn't lift before, and I was supposed to be on the mend!" He breaks out in laughter once again. "But all in all I figured I was pretty much the same physically as before the incident. That changed as soon as I started kicking a ball with the boys again. I felt faster, stronger, perhaps even more skillful. At first I thought it was an illusion, but it soon became clear it was for real. I was flying! I must have scored a hundred goals in that training session!" While tests indicate that there was some improvement in Manucho's physical abilities, the main change was mental. He used to be a winger scoring a small handful of goals every season, now he was a goalscoring machine. "I just could not be stopped. After 5 minutes I was able to predict everything that would happen on the pitch. How my marker would move, where the next pass would come, all these things. Suddenly I had become the best player on my team, the best player in the league!" He was so good in fact it didn't take Girabola club Petro Luanda more that a few weeks before they offered Manucho a contract. "They thought I could be very special, but they didn't know me that well. So we agreed my wages would be decided by how much I played and how many goals I scored. Now I have been the top scorer for two years in a row, I play for the national team and I'm still on this ridiculous contract!" However, you can tell he isn't too bothered by it. Even at 31 he knows there are much bigger things in store for him. Being the son of an Angolan mother and a Nigerian father, Manucho could have decided to play for the much more high profile Nigerian team. "The Nigerian coach, Augustine Eguavoen, called my a few times. He said he promised to have faith in me and to give me playing time, but there was some pressure from him and other members of the Nigerian FA for me to not be true about my age. 30 wasn't a very good age if I ever wanted to play in Europe. But I don't believe in lies so in the end the choice was made for me. God wanted me to play for Angola."

Perhaps the fact that Manucho is now in Manchester, training with the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney and Fletcher, will teach the Nigerian FA a lesson about integrity. Having covered European football from an African point of view for over a decade, I know integrity is a rare thing in the game these days. But when it comes to rarities, nothing can match the story of Manucho Goncalves. And it's only just begun. I wouldn't bet against Sir Alex Ferguson adding an African striker to his ranks in the near future.


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Angola's Manucho Delighted After Old Trafford Trial Angolan international striker Manucho Goncalves couldn't be happier following a trial with Manchester United...

From the Angolan domestic league to Old Trafford is quite a leap, but stiker Manucho Goncalves seems to have taken it in his stride.

The striker has just completed a trial at the Premiership giants, during which he rubbed shoulders with some of the top players at Manchester United.

He told The News of the World, "It's a dream.

"Ronaldo and Nani have appreciated my qualities and I scored in a training match."

When the Angolan league, the Girabola, ended in November, the striker had managed 16 strikes for Petro Atletico to go with his 15 from the 2006 campaign.

Such league form caught the eye of a few European clubs, and even if he fails to win a contract at United, another club may perhaps look to move for him.

The versatile forward will soon join up with the Angolan national squad for the African Cup of Nations as he looks to add to the one goal that he scored in qualifying.

Source: News of the World
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