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Vincent Kompany says his family history driving him as Burnley battle the drop

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Feb 2024

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Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has revealed his father’s experiences as a political refugee give him the drive and determination to lead the club’s fight for Premier League survival.

The Clarets are on course for relegation after a 5-0 thrashing at home to Arsenal left them anchored in 19th place with just three wins this season, but Kompany’s resolve has roots far beyond the football pitch.

Explaining his hunger for the fight, the former Manchester City captain cited his father Pierre, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo for Belgium as a dissident in 1975 having protested against the brutal dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. He later went on to become Belgium’s first black mayor, and put his son on the path to a glittering sporting career.

Offering an emotional account of his inner drive, Kompany said: “It’s a deep answer; it’s about where you come from.

“Where I come from is my dad, who was a political refugee. He had to flee a country not just at war, but as a dictatorship where he was getting whipped in his twenties because he was against the regime over there.

“It’s fleeing from one part of the country to the other, it’s losing family members, it’s everything you’ve experienced. It’s where I come from.

“You say where does the drive and desire come from? I have so many reasons to have that fire in me every single day. So many reasons why I can’t ever do less.

“It’s bigger than one result, or a bad month, or anything like that.”

Kompany also pushed back against the notion that this season’s struggles were a new experience for someone more accustomed to lifting silverware than fighting the drop.

“That’s the bulk of the known experiences, yeah. But a gambler never tells you about his losses, right?” he said.

“That (a serial winner) is what you see, but my experiences feel different. I do feel I’ve had to overcome and do a lot to get where I was.

“You’re in a position where your job is the centre of your life, you’re that focused on it 24/7 that keeping perspective can be difficult, so to have my dad, my mum, our own experiences, it is important.

“It’s important to keep a steady course because you have a bad result and usually the way it works in football is it kind of defines who you are for the next week – you can imagine that after the Arsenal game.

“But the reality is it’s the strength of a team when you are able to move past it and not let it define you.”

One of Kompany’s players who will need plenty of mental strength in the days ahead is Aaron Ramsey, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

The 21-year-old left the field on a stretcher with what looked a nasty knee injury against the Gunners and faces a lengthy lay-off.

“Unfortunately for us he was as bad as we thought, definitely his season is over,” said Kompany.

“Maybe for the larger part of this year he won’t feature. I don’t want to go into specifics but the main thing is he’ll recover fully.”

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