Ambroise Lionheart

Cameroon left-back will leave club after rehab work

If you walk around Centre Nutrilait during a weekday, you might get the chance to find a smiling Ambroise Oyongo these days around, and for a reason: the full-back started to run again on the training pitches.

“It’s great to feel the grass again after spending so much time on the treatment table,” said the Cameroon international. “This is another step I could climb; not easily, I worked hard, but it feels nice to run outside. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I feel that I have more and more lung capacity.”

His spell in the wilderness was tough, but not as long as it could have been for the Indomitable Lion. When the diagnosis fell, back in June, it was estimated that he would be away from the action for nine months.

“Healing an injury is not only physical, there is a big mental component to it. By dominating the mental side of things, I think it helps to come back sooner than anticipated,” underlines Oyongo. In rehab, I forgot my worries. To come back, you have to be on top and be stronger than before. That is what I have been trying to do, as seriously as I can. I listened closely to my therapists’ instructions. I set myself an objective at the start of the process. I wanted to get back in training within five months. I am very happy to have reached that objective. I also wanted to set an example for other injured players. It’s not only physical: if you feel good mentally, it’s easier and quicker to go through the different steps.”

It’s good to be able to run again, but more is needed for Oyogo to join a full training session.

“For now, I am at about 80%,” he explains. “I need to get that final 20%, which is the hardest thing to do. I can feel my leg is much stronger than before. The muscle is back and I have good sensations, but I need to work more to get that 20%. It should be around six weeks before I can play again. In a few weeks, I will be able to train with the group or with a youth team. It’s great for me.”

“I have to find a bit more strength. I have to double the strength my muscle had before the injury to help keep my knee in good condition. I will find that in the gym, and then I will have to get back the sensations on the pitch, with the ball.”

Oyongo’s humour, good spirit and exuberance make him a popular figure in the locker room. His phone started blowing up as soon as the news of his injury came out.

“There are many players who sent me messages after my injury, like my Cameroon and Impact teammates, but also many other MLS players and even in Europe to whom I had never spoken to before. Their messages moved me and lifted my spirits. There are also many players here who have suffered similar injuries and who wished me courage. When so many people contact you to hope for your speedy recovery, it’s heartwarming.”

Unfortunately, Ambroise Oyongo’s next official game will be under another club’s colours. We can only wish the African champion good luck and assure him that he will always have friends in Montreal.