Newcastle United midfielder Cheik Tiote says his upbringing on football pitches in Africa was completely different to what he has experience in England and elsewhere in Europe.
The 25-year old Ivory Coast international left his homeland for Belgium’s Anderlecht in 2005 before moving to FC Twente and then onto Newcastle in 2010 and has spoken out about the hardships he faced when growing up in the African nation which was experiencing civil unrest during his youth.
“It is not the same in Africa – it is so different. Everything is, but playing football especially,” he said.
“It is very difficult to play football over there - there are no facilities, no money to do everything you want to do.
“You come over to Europe and you have everything – you are given everything. The ball, the kits . . . you have everything.
“In Africa you have to be strong, so strong mentally, to make it. You need to believe in yourself to go forward.
“Playing in that environment you need to believe in yourself. That is what it gives you and that is what you take with you.”