Long journey for soccer star Bumba-Mutambala

Protais-Hamza Bumba-Mutambala (centre) accepts his bursary from Sandy Vassiadis, vice-president, Corporate Communications for Saputo (left) and Philippe Eullaffroy, Academy director and head coach of FC Montreal U-21.

When Protais-Hamza Bumba-Mutambala came to Quebec from his native Congo at the age of three he was entering an entirely different world and had to adapt quickly. A different climate, language and culture proved to be obstacles that he and his family had to overcome.

“When I came to Quebec City, I didn’t speak French or English, we spoke Swahili in the Congo, and everyone was playing hockey,” Bumba-Mutambala said after receiving a $2,000 bursary from Saputo. In total Saputo handed out $133,000 to 43 recipients as part of the 17th edition of the Saputo Bursary Program 45 recipients run in conjunction with the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence (FAEQ). A year after arriving he joined a soccer club and has done an outstanding job of assimilating into his new country.

“I now speak three languages and I enjoy playing soccer,” he said with a smile.

His soccer ability has opened several doors for him. He joined the Montreal Impact Academy after moving to LaSalle and attended the 2015 U-18 Canadian National Development team.

“My strength is dribbling and ball control are my strengths,” he said. “I need to work on my left foot.”

He is presently enrolled in a Pathways program at CEGEP Andre-Laurendeau and his long-term goals are to play professionally in Europe and enjoy a career in architecture.

FAEQ president Mr. Claude Chagnon praised Saputo’s commitment to elite student-athletes over the last 17 years and highlighted their loyalty and generosity towards the Foundation.

“Saputo has long understood the importance of not only supporting student-athletes who have already succeeded internationally but also those aspiring athletes who are lesser-known and funded,” Chagnon said. “Support from Saputo and the Foundation enables these young athletes to fulfil their athletic dreams while ensuring their academic success. Now more than ever, Saputo and the Foundation are united to support the academic, athletic, and personal achievement of Quebec’s student-athletes,” concluded Mr. Chagnon.

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