Histon's Patrick Ada dreams of FA Cup date with Kanu and Portsmouth

12 January 2009 11:33
But should results turn out in his club's favour on Tuesday, then the FA Cup could confer a neat circularity upon his story, bringing the Cameroon-born player face to face in the fourth round with his boyhood idol, the Portsmouth striker Kanu.

Although the distance between Cameroon and deepest Cambridgeshire is measured in more than miles, Ada is already a non-League itinerant in that part of the world, having wound up at Histon after spells of varying success at Stevenage, Barnet and St Albans. A third-round FA Cup tie against Swansea City on Tuesday night is by some margin his most elevated stage to date, and small wonder that he has been kicking his heels since its initial postponement 10 days ago – a date with Kanu, the Nigerian idolised in every football-obsessed state from the Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea, awaits.

While Histon's attritional style may be no match for the continental flair of Roberto Martinez's Swansea, and while Portsmouth must play their part by winning at Bristol City, Ada can but dream. "I'm from Cameroon and everyone in Africa knows Kanu," the 23-year-old said. "I remember watching him on television at the African Cup of Nations and World Cup when I was younger.

"Kanu is a really good striker and it would be a dream to play against him, I would be so happy. As a non-League player you want to play the best and it would be great playing against someone I have admired since I was young."

Ada has become a vital part of Histon's team this season, cementing a formidable partnership in central defence in Matt Langston. He was optimistic of success against Swansea, mindful no doubt of how the Championship club famously capitulated against Havant and Waterlooville at the same stage last season, but his attitude was not shared by coach John Beck. Whereas the majority of non-League coaches in this situation like to entertain the notion of Cup romance, Beck was brutally realistic.

Already he has seen Histon carve out impressive wins over League One sides Swindon Town and Leeds United, and he twice steered Cambridge to the quarter-finals of the competition. But Beck has cultivated an approach that has alienated the purists. He acknowledged as much himself when he said: "I have fantastic admiration for the way that Swansea play. It's real continental stuff. I think they're going to be too much for us."

Source: Telegraph