What do Samuel Eto’o, the war in Ukraine, FC Barcelona and CS Longueuil have in common? They all forged the fabulous destiny of Armand Ella Ken.

The 30-year-old Cameroonian now wears the colors of CS Longueuil in Ligue 1 Quebec – formerly called the PLSQ – the province’s highest league. However, before he got there, the journey was winding, to say the least.

Ella Ken’s football story took root at age 12. It all starts by chance.

While accompanying his mother to the airport, the boy sees some buggers his age in sports uniforms leaving for Spain. As he returns home, he receives a call from his mother.

“You don’t know who I met? she told him. Samuel Eto’o! »

On the other hand, “it will be your last chance”, warns his mother, who does not want to see her son scuttle his studies.

Armand Ella Ken arrives at this audition pumped up. It’s a success all the way. The same day, the coach informs the mother that he can join the foundation. Two months later, the foundation returned to play a tournament in Spain, where they lost in the final against La Masia.

Ella Ken makes an impression. He becomes one of six players from the foundation to join FC Barcelona’s academy, the renowned Masia. So, at 12, he flew to the capital of the beautiful game.

“I didn’t know the language, didn’t know anyone, in short, it builds character. It instilled an iron mentality in me,” he recalls.

When he looks back on his six years at La Masia, Ella Ken’s joy and pride can be heard on the other end of the handset. “I rubbed shoulders with the best players like Dani Alves and Eric Abidal. I trained with [Pep] Guardiola’s first team,” he notes.

However, a tile falls on Ella Ken’s head when her career has the wind in its sails. Then in the national team with the under 20s, he suffered a “big injury” after the African Cup. Result ?

“I had a semi-paralyzed foot for 11 months. No feeling, nothing,” he explains.

When he returns to the game, after a year without an official match, he is no longer at the level. He returned to Cameroon, where he eventually received an offer from Karpaty, a Ukrainian Premier League club.

Some were quick to remind him of the difference in prestige between the two clubs.

“Agents came to see me afterwards to say ‘why did you choose this club’, etc. “, explains the one who was evolving until then as a winger. “I’ve been more than a year without a club and you haven’t called me. No one said to me, ‘Yes, I have a club for you’. Person.

“After more than a year without playing, all I wanted was to get back on the pitch. It didn’t matter to me, the destination, I wanted to rediscover the pleasure of playing. I made this decision that I fully assume. Maybe it wasn’t the best, but maybe it was the best…”

Thus, at the age of 19, Ella Ken’s professional career began and took her all over the world. He will also go to Hungary, Poland, South Africa and Uzbekistan, before returning to Ukraine… and then ending up in Canada.

In fact, the decision to leave Ukraine was self-imposed.

“I didn’t know what tomorrow was made of,” he recalls.

So, with the goal of providing a stable and above all safe future for his son, he decided to come to Quebec. He will spend a short time in France, the time to fill out the necessary forms, then head for the metropolis.

Once in Quebec, Armand Ella Ken begins his search for a new club. While searching the internet, he discovered CS Longueuil and wrote to it. After a few practice sessions, a union is formed.

However, he knows that joining a semi-professional level club in Quebec puts his professional career on hold. Either way, the family won.

“I’ve had a career that God would have wanted me to have. With all the injuries and all this journey. Today, I focus on something else. The career could start again tomorrow, although I doubt it. But I always have fun playing football.

“I prioritized stability more than anything else. I want to see my son grow up in a much healthier environment. It’s my choice. I plan to stay in Canada long term. If, one day, I go to the Canadian Premier League, we will see. But my priority is to see my son having fun. »