After two major injuries that cost him 33 games, forward Silas Katompa Mvumpa is back scoring goals for VfB Stuttgart. The DR Congo native had been instrumental in the club’s promotion back into the Bundesliga in the 2020-21 season, and, eager to help his club improve their standing in the table now, the ‘Rookie of the Season’ for 2020-21 says that football is “the only job in the world that makes me smile”.
How would you sum up your season so far and that of VfB Stuttgart?
“Personally, I feel really good. In terms of the club, the current situation is not great. We still have work to do, and I hope we can get the results that we want.”
You have re-discovered your goalscoring form – how are you feeling at the moment?
“I am happy to have scored some goals. I had missed that feeling – it had been a long time since I last scored. It will help to further build my confidence.”
You just scored your first brace in almost two years. What emotions did that invoke?
“I was happy with my performance and very happy to score two goals as well. It helped the team pick up all three points too, so I was happy.”
What was the atmosphere like in the dressing room after the change of manager?
“It is a difficult moment for us. We have recently lost our coach, who had done a huge amount for us. We needed to motivate ourselves, we have been performing well on the pitch and got a win, which will give us confidence. And it also helped the coach – it was important for him as well that we got the win.”
You were named Rookie of the Season for 2020/21. What did that mean to you?
“It pushed me to work even harder throughout my injury. Due to the injury, I wasn’t able to show the qualities that earned me that prize. But I stayed concentrated on my work and my recovery.”
You missed 33 games through injury – almost an entire season! How tough was that period for you?
“It was a very difficult period for me. I had to make a lot of sacrifices and put a lot of effort in. But I got through it thanks to my family and everyone at the club who supported me throughout this difficult period. They helped me to recover. I am happy now and I am very grateful for everything they have done for me.”
How would you describe your lifestyle?
“I have a normal life. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am a normal guy, I just want to be happy.”
How do you celebrate Christmas? We spotted a colorful Christmas tree on your Instagram account…
“It’s an important time for me. And it’s difficult because I can’t be with my family over that period. So it’s very hard for me. But I know people over here. In that particular photo, I was at my agent’s house. He invited me over and we spent Christmas together.”
You are often seen smiling out on the pitch. Where does that happiness come from?
“You have to really enjoy your football. It is the only job in the world that makes me smile and makes me happy every single day. I love expressing myself out on the pitch.”
How would you describe your playing style? Who is your favorite player?
“I like Aubameyang. I like his style of play, his speed and his ability. He is someone who has inspired me a lot.”
What can you contribute to the team?
“I create a lot of chances for my teammates. I always look to play forward and to get the win for my team.”
What does VfB Stuttgart mean to you?
“They are like a second family to me. They have always supported me and been there for me. I am extremely grateful for everything they have done for me. And they continue to support me today.”
How would you sum up the team’s position four games before the World Cup?
“We are not happy with the current situation. We have four games left. We have to work hard now so that we can win the remaining four matches. We need to improve our standing in the table.”
What are you expecting from the African teams at the World Cup? Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tunisia, Morocco?
“It would be amazing if an African team were to win the World Cup one day. That would make me very proud as an African. Yes, it’s possible. In my opinion, Senegal has a good team, I like them a lot.”
Will you be watching the World Cup?
“I don’t know how much time off we will be given. Perhaps I will be able to go back to my home country and watch the games there with my family.”
What do you plan to do during the Bundesliga break this November and December?
“It is not a holiday as such. I need to keep working hard to make sure I come back even better than before.”