Football is filled with stories of players, who have successfully progressed from playing football in the streets of their third world homes in Africa with makeshift balls to playing in the best leagues in Europe as professional footballers. The dreams of thousands of youngsters are fuelled by success stories like Samuel Eto’o or Sadio Mané.
Silas Wamangituka was one such youngster and after just two matchdays in this season’s Bundesliga, he’s already starting to make headlines with VfB Stuttgart. After scoring the winning goal in the Swabians’ DFB Pokal win over Hansa Rostock, he scored his first Bundesliga goal last week in Stuttgart’s 3-2 loss to Freiburg. This week in a 4-1 victory over Mainz, he put in another top display with a goal and an assist.
The back story
Silas Funda Wamangituka was born in the Congolese capital Kinshasa and started playing as a street footballer before joining Olympic Matete FC. A raw dribbler with a pure attacking mentality, he moved to France as a 17-year-old joining Alés. After just one season in southern France he moved to Paris in Ligue 2.
Silas emerged as a wild attacker whose unpredictable dribbling and direct runs could break through opposition defences, even if the tactical and technical side of his game was lacking. He was an instinct player, whose roots as a street footballer were obvious.
Stuttgart’s scouting supremo Sven Mislintat spotted his talent and the German side signed him in the summer of 2019 for €8 million. Last season as VfB earned themselves promotion back to the Bundesliga, Wamangituka scored seven goals and provided eight assists as he formed a vital part of the side’s attack along with Nicolas Gonzalez.
Matchday 2 v Mainz
As mentioned, Wamangituka scored against both Rostock and Freiburg in matches he started as the left wingback in a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3. Against Mainz however at the Opel Arena he was more advanced on the right in Pellegrino Matarazzo’s 3-1-4-2 formation.
Having fallen behind to a goal against the run of play, Stuttgart equalised right on half time when Wamangituka powered forward from the right to get himself on the end of a pass from captain Gonzalo Castro, which he buried into the far corner with a first-time shot on the run.
Ten minutes from time with Stuttgart leading 2-1, a Mainz corner was cleared but instantly recycled to Jean-Paul Boetius to put back into the danger zone. Wamangituka harried the Mainz midfielder superbly and won the ball cleanly before racing away giving the visitors a 2 v 1 advantage on the breakaway. He fed Mateo Klimowicz with a perfect ball and the substitute striker calmly rounded Robin Zentner to score his first Bundesliga goal.
All in all a very good afternoon for the 20-year-old, who is showing very early on this season that the jump up to the Bundesliga is not going to faze him and that with added tactical discipline and a refined technique, he is going to be a real danger this season.
The tale of the tape
A man of the match performance saw him complete 72% of his 25 passes and he scored with one of his two shots on goal. He provided one key pass (for Klimowicz’s goal) and completed three dribbles, although he was also dispossessed three times.
What they said?
“Silas is incredibly talented. He will get even better, he listens, and he learns. His first and second touches have become better as well as his defensive play. He is a good boy and will make his way.” Trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo
“Silas always creates dangerous situations. Like Nico Gonzalez, he played a major role in the promotion in the last half of the season. He has developed very well and made a big step tactically. Also and especially when it comes to his defensive behavior.” Sporting Director Sven Mislintat