Matata's driving ambition to succeed

Thursday 13th July 2006
Written by Stephen McCartney, Editor
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 15th July 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
At Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone

Walid Matata has a driving ambition for the new season – to score 20 goals and get Folkestone Invicta promoted, writes Stephen McCartney.

The quick striker, 24, who moved to Cheriton Road from their arch-rivals Dover Athletic at the turn of the year, in the deal that took record goalscorer James Dryden in the opposite direction, impressed during his second half showing against Gillingham last night.

The League One side were comfortable 2-0 winners with two goals in the space of five minutes – either side of half-time – with summer signings Guylian Ndumbu-Nsungu and one-time Beckenham Town striker Dean McDonald getting on the scoresheet.

But Matata (pictured) had a couple of good chances late in the game – his best opportunity coming when his lob over the advancing Scott Ward, a former Margate goalkeeper, was hacked off the line by Sean Clohessey.

The striker, who drives around 150 miles on his round trip from his Tottenham home every time Invicta play at home, netted six goals for Neil Cugley’s side following his switch from Crabble.

But the journey from North London doesn’t put the striker off – in fact he relishes being given the chance at this level.

The former Arsenal schoolboy, told last night: “Basically I wanted to play and get an opportunity.  I went to Dover, done quite well and Folkestone, in a league higher, came in and I liked what Cugs was saying to me.

“The travelling is very hard but if you’ve got the passion you do it.”

He added: “It’s hard but when you want something you’re willing to do it.”

Folkestone Invicta, who had five training sessions before their first of ten pre-season outings, are coached by two former Gillingham stars – Mark Saunders and Mark Patterson.

And their training methods will put the club in good stead ahead of their Ryman Premier League exploits, which starts with a home game against Harrow Borough on Saturday, 19th August.

“I believe we’ll be on par with our rivals because we’ve been in early,” said Matata.  “The training regimes changed and we’re looking sharp.

“The two Mark’s have helped and their experience is second to none.  They’ve been there and they know what they want.”

Looking back on his own impressive display against full-time opposition, Matata, who works for the Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “I thought I done quite well to shut everything down but it was a bit difficult – but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Gillingham were aware of everyone’s position and they used the ball very well.”

Invicta welcome another full-time outfit to the Buzzlines Stadium on Saturday, when Nationwide Conference side Gravesend & Northfleet visit.

“Basically we can turn them over,” Matata confidently predicted.

But his manager Neil Cugley, now in his tenth season at the club, was more cautious.

Cugley, who takes his side to his former club Ashford Town next Wednesday, warned: “I think it will be in someways a harder game physically.

“I think they’ll be a bit stronger than Gillingham.  Gillingham aren’t going to put themselves about as much but I think Gravesend will a little bit – it will be a good test for us.”

Cugley utilised 19 players against the Gills with Steve Norman, Adam Flanagan and Kevin Watson playing the entire 90 minutes.

Admission prices:
£8 (adults)
£4 (concessions)
Walid Matata photograph: