Christopher Mandiangu

Christopher Mandiangu is a German professional footballer originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo who plays as a Striker, Winger or attacking midfielder. Having played for Germany at U15 and U18 level and after having made 22 Youth International appearances, he then began his senior career with Borussia Mönchengladbach. After that he had moves to German clubs MSV Duisburg, TSG Neustrelitzand Berliner FC Dynamo and in 2015 played in Holland for FC Eindhoven where he was voted best winger for the club. He also played in the Scottish Premiership for Hamilton Academical and in Slovakia for MŠK Žilina before moving to Austrian club FC Blau-Weiß Linz in 2017. Christopher is currently playing his football in the Finnish Premier league with FF Jaro.

Christopher came to Germany when he was just 2 months old. It was probably one of the most challenging starts anyone could have in life. He told us that his family were refugees fleeing the civil war in the Congo and the one thing you can be sure of is that that is  not how his family would have envisaged life starting for Christopher in an ideal world. When they arrived they were forced to live in the refugee camps and although life was difficult so far away from home, one of the blessings was that in the camp, often the main activity was football which he loved. In fact one of his earliest memories was of kicking a ball around and just having fun and forgetting about all the difficulties they faced as a refugee family. At the age of 7, while living at the camp across the road from a football club, one of the coaches spotted him practicing his skills and recognised his talent. The coach told him that even though he couldn’t afford the training fees, because he was good enough, he could come and play for free.

Christopher joined the club and soon was playing in tournaments against some of the biggest clubs in Germany, like Bayern Munich. A Borussia scout spotted him and eventually persuaded him at 9 to leave his family and friends to live in their boarding school for young footballers. Living with 11 other children, Christopher found it extremely difficult to adapt. He said “I was of African culture from a refugee camp and the streets, so I wasn’t used to the regular things like meal times and regular patterns. It was difficult to be seen as truly German and be accepted and especially as I got older, it seemed when things were going well, I was made to feel a part of the family but when things weren’t going so well and I wasn’t performing, I was made to feel like, due my background, I didn’t belong.

Christopher despite these struggles continued to shine and the rewards came his way but at a cost. Christopher recalled. “At 17 I was so gifted I was given a 5 year contract worth lots of money and as a consequence I lost my focus. Faith in God didn’t seem important and I was out with the guys partying instead of focusing on football. Suddenly things went downhill, my mother was sick at the time and I ended up not getting the chances others were at the club and asking myself why.” Christopher would eventually end up having to move clubs for opportunities to play regularly, despite all his talent and again it raised questions about the plan and purpose for his life.

It was at that point after many conversations about God with his family and also meeting some Brazilian players who were strong in their faith, that Christopher said “i realised there was more to life than just money and football but also that I had talent but now had to work hard to get my life and football career back on track and thankfully, I now feel like I’m getting there. I have always felt God has been there to support me and was with me. Even when I was alone without the support at games with my parents unable to come due to taking care of my brothers, I felt like I had confidence because God was with me. I knew I was different but in a good way.”

Christopher had a message of hope for any of you guys who were or had been through difficult circumstances, he said that “In life nothing is easy but you can trust in God. Know that everyone is special and that God wouldn’t allow you to go through something if he knew you weren’t strong enough to do so.” That’s something that we guess would be easy to say if things had always been perfect for Christopher. But as you’ve read he’s been through some of the most challenging situations since fleeing his home country and yet still come out on top with his dreams still in tact and his faith in God stronger than ever and if he can do it, hen we have absolutely no doubt that so can you.

Christopher is now back on top form scoring goals again and has ambitions to not only win the Finnish Premiership but finish at least within the top 3 Goal scorers with his club. He wants to fulfil his dreams of playing football at the highest levels in European football and ultimately go on to represent the Democratic Republic of Congo as soon as he can. It would be amazing to see Christopher fulfil his potential and we’re so glad we’ll get to join him on that journey.