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Young cagou living his dream

Having attended the Asia Pacific Football Academy in Christchurch since January of this year, the 16-year-old is now well on his way to carving out a fine future for himself.
The APFA is based in Lincoln, just outside of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand, and run by managing director Andy Smith and head coach Giovanni Fernandes from Brazil.
Providing a unique football programme, the academy has links to reknowned English club Chelsea and focuses on the intensive individual development of young players.
Partodikromo is the only Pacific Island footballer attending the academy fulltime, training alongside players from Mexico, China and New Zealand among other nationalities.
Despite the occasional bouts of homesickness in the early days, Partodikromo has well and truly found his feet, joining his colleagues as they toured his home country earlier this month.
“The beginning wasn’t easy in a strange country far away from my family and friends,” Partodikromo says.
“But I prepared myself for it with the support of my family and the managers of my club in New Caledonia, AS Mont Dore.
“After having passed the entry exam, I had to complete an accelerated English language course of three months which was indispensable for opening the doors to the academy for me.
“Knowing English has really helped me to integrate quickly. The other students at the academy see me as a brother.”
He says a normal day includes attending classes at Lincoln High School until 1.30pm. The players are then picked up and taken to the academy where they begin their afternoon of training.
“Each day we have a different programme with the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other days are concentrated on fitness, endurance and sessions with the ball. And we also have a match on the weekends.”
He believes he has made a lot of progress since joining the academy.
“With each match that I play, I feel like I have improved the technical, tactical and physical aspects of my game.
“It is on the tactical aspects that I have learnt a lot. Not because we never covered tactics at Mont Dore, but because at the academy we work differently, like the Anglo-Saxons.”
Before attending the academ, Partodikromo was captain of the national U-15 side and he is expected to be an essential element in the New Caledonia team which will participate in the OFC U-17 Championship in Vanuatu during April next year.
His dream in the coming years is to pass through the New Caledonian youth sides and into the national team, Les Cagous, in time for the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.
Further into the future, if he is picked up to become a professional footballer he sees himself playing in the English Premier League as opposed to France’s Ligue 1.
“With my apprenticeship at the academy I have more of an affinity with the Anglo-Saxon game,” he says.
He has three years maximum at the academy during which time he hopes to convince a professional club from Europe, or elsewhere, to recruit him, and head coach Fernandes says it is a real possibility.
“Mickaël is very strong mentally. He always manages to come out on top, regardless of the situation he finds himself in during a match, whether he’s attacking or defending,” Fernandes says.
“I would love to have a crystal ball to predict Mickaël’s future. Since he has been with us he has progressed in every area. He possesses the physical and technical qualities, and overall the will to attain a professional playing career.
“I would really like this for him and I will do everything I can to help him achieve his dream.”
For more on New Caledonia football go to www.fedcalfoot.com

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