Golgol Mebrhatu is an Eritrean-Australian soccer player. He was born in Eritrea in 1990 and his family migrated to Sudan and then to Australia. An awesome soccer player who was discovered by Head Coach Miron Bleiberg of the Australian version of the premier league known as the A-League eventually led to a National Youth League contract with Gold Coast United in 2009. Golgol was born in Eritrea but moved to Australia when he was five-years-old and now harbours ambitions to turn out for the Socceroos the nick name used by the Australian National team. He made his Hyundai A-League debut in round 6 of the 2009/10 season in the 2-2 draw with Perth Glory. Golgol was marred by a serious hamstring injury last year. However, he was selected to make the team based on his hard work and ability and signed to a contract for the Gold Coast United team.
Eri-International sports blog caught up with Golgol during the CECAFA tournament taking place in Eritrea for an interview. Here below is the interview in it's entirety. Golgol just turned twenty recently and he played his first game of the season two weeks ago in a loss to Melbourne Victory and will be playing this weekend against Perth. We will keep you posted on his developments as we have done with Henok Goitom. Meanwhile Goitom the La Liga Eritrean-Swede Star is ready to get back on the field this weekend. He has put on the jersey he wears his last name in the Eritrean language of tigrinia "Goitom" in a show of Pride for his roots as an Eritrean. So far there has not been any issues raised and hopefully it will not be a big deal by the Spanish premier league officials. Eritrea is proud of you Henok.
Meanwhile, here below is the entire interview that Eri-international sports conducted with Golgol Mebrhatu.
First of all, thank you for allowing us to get to know you Golgol. Can you briefly tell us where in Eritrea you were born and how old you were when you moved to Sudan, and then on to Australia?
“I was actually born in Sudan, in Khartoum, and we lived there for four years. My father moved our whole family back to Eritrea for four years, then we went back to Sudan for one year, then came over here to Australia when I was nine, almost 10.”
It was your English teacher that referred you to the Brisbane Olympic team, and in one article it says “the rest is history”. Did you ever think that one day you would come to Australia and pursue your dreams of playing professional soccer?
“Not really. When I first came I was more into education, but as I started playing and got older, some coaches encouraged me and so on. So from there I developed a desire to play professional football. But not at the start, no.”
Australia is a place where most people throughout the world don’t think the game of soccer is popular – however, the Socceroos have proven that they think they can play the game, as they have made it to the past two World Cups. By starting your career professionally in this time and age when the game is fast getting attention in the ‘Land Down Under’, you seem to be in the right place at the right time. What are your thoughts on that?
“Yes, definitely. It’s much like the US, I guess, our football is growing now, our national team has been successful over the last couple of years and it does give the football here in Australia more credibility, so I guess it helps me and maybe gives me better chances of being noticed.”
Has your family and the Eritrean community in Australia always been supportive of your desire to play the game at a high level?
“Yes. My father and my brother, they used to play as well and my older brothers used to play. They’ve always been supportive and encouraged me to do my best, go out there and fulfil my dream.”
You were discovered by Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg while working out at a very young age, and you have proven that you are capable of making it as a star player in the A-League. Can you talk about the hard work ethics it took you to get to this point?
“That again came from my parents. When they were encouraging me when I was younger, when I had that desire to play as a professional footballer, we sat down and from there, along with my brothers, I started making a program for myself and I tried to train as often as I could. If I wanted to be a pro, I thought I had to train like a pro, so I trained every day and that was basically it. Just try as best as you can, as often as you can, and see how it goes from there.”
You were injured early in your first season last year, and most athletes don’t come back easily from an injury, but you seem to be ready to play at a high level this year. What have you learned from sitting out most of last season?
“I’ve absorbed how the game is played, how people train and people’s attitudes, because it is a new environment for me – it’s only my first year. It was a bit difficult at the start, but sitting out you can see how the team plays, how the team trains and you can absorb more. That helped me a lot with my game.”
Eritrea, your land of origin, and Australia, your adopted homeland, have had a great relationship in the past and continue to do so. As an Eritrean-Aussie, what are your plans to help develop the game in Eritrea in the future?
“That depends how successful I am as a footballer I guess. If I keep going the way I am and I keep developing and getting to higher stages, I definitely would like to get involved with my home country and try and set up academies and things like that, but that’s a long way down the track. Like I said, it really depends on how successful I am with my game – for me to be a role model I’d have to be playing at a decent level and be in a position that other kids would aspire to. I’d definitely like to get involved and time will tell I guess.”
There are many young kids coming up in Eritrea, and recently the youth teams have had success in the Norway Cup and in mid-August, the Eritrean national under-20 team will be hosting the Central and East African tournament. What are your thoughts on that, and do you think Eritrea has a chance to win at home in its first ever tournament as a host?
“I’ve been following this up actually and it makes me very proud to see that my blood country is doing really well. I’ve seen them; they’re developing and hopefully they can do well. They’re at home and they’ve been doing well in the past tournaments, so I hope they can win it.”
What are your expectations as an individual player, and as a team for Gold Coast United in the A-League this year?
“For me, I’ve come back from injury, so I’m just trying to get a starting position and cement myself as a Hyundai A-League player. From there to help my team win the title and hopefully bigger things come from that – representing my country, Australia, and so on.”
Has the name Golgol put a lot of pressure on you to score goals? Have you asked your parents why they named you Golgol and if so, can you elaborate?
“I have a big family, a family of seven, and my father named my family like building a house. My sister, Seret, is the first part of the house. My brother Hintsa is the next part of the house, in our language of course, and then you’ve got Luwan, Dogol, and then Golgol. The meaning of it is a vast plain, so it sort of relates to a soccer pitch. That’s the way he named our family.”
As a person who has been following the success of young soccer players of Eritrean heritage, it gives me great pleasure to see you playing the game at a high level and I wish you all the best. If you would like to add anything to the interview please feel free to do so. Thank you for your time and good luck with your season.
“Thanks, I appreciate the way you’re supporting Eritrean athletes and I hope to speak with you again soon as well.”
Congratulations to Golgol and Henok. We hope to have more stories of success for you as 2010 has been the year of Eritrean athletes.
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