May 20, 2024
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Forge FC Christopher Kalongo

‘I Trust My Ability’: Kalongo Enjoying Opportunity To Impress As Forge Starter

By on April 25, 2024 0 1253 Views

Young Christopher Kalongo has a big year ahead of him.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper has stepped into a starting role for the CPL’s reigning playoff champions, coming up big following the obfuscated exit of Triston Henry.

What makes his transition straight to a starting role even more fascinating is the fact that he’d only made two career appearances in just as many years beforehand. He’s already doubled that tally in this spring’s opening stanza, and there’s a lot of road in front of him yet.

After getting things started with two high-profile Champions Cup tilts against Liga MX giant Chivas Guadalajara, the youngster is settling into a groove in league play that he described to Mackenzie Barwell as a relative cakewalk compared to his earlier trip to Estadio Akron.

“That’s in terms of speaking to my defenders and just overall atmosphere, you know, everything’s almost a little a little step down in a way,” he says. “But I think now what’s really important for me is to just keep consistency and show that I can do what I did in those games and these last two games on a week-to-week basis.”

It’s a confident take, but he’s a confident young man: when he first learned he’d be playing a much bigger role for 2024, he wasn’t afraid of what might not got well, but rather was excited for just how well it could go.

“I think it’s just showing that I’ve done everything I could to be prepared for the moment. I couldn’t have done more training,” says Kalongo. “Maybe you could say, okay, I could add more game experience… but I think going into it, I trust my ability and what I can do.”

Forge FC Christopher Kalongo
Photo Credit: John Jacques

His clean sheet against York United was a career second, and his first of the 2024 campaign. Having only conceded once in Forge’s first two league matches, he’s tied for second-least concessions betwixt the league’s other goalkeepers. Just three of the seven have conceded under a goal per match to start the campaign, and he’s one of them.

As he delves further into the season in a starting role – Jassem Koleilat is still awaiting his chance to impress – Kalongo wants to keep his performances consistent and his standards high throughout the club’s trophy defense season.

“If you’re letting in one crazy goal one week, but you’re making crazy save next week, it’s not really great. You should just be keeping your performances at the same level and try to be solid for the team.”

Forge FC Christopher Kalongo
Kalongo back in 2022. (Photo Credit: John Jacques)

While it’s easy to imagine how much pressure could be placed on a young goalkeeper, Christopher says that he never never doubts himself, seeing every minute played as an opportunity to showcase himself and his talent to the world.

“I think that’s probably the biggest thing, because I feel like now even if you look across the world, there’s a lot of young players that are getting opportunities and stepping into them,” adds Kalongo. “I think it really just comes down to belief and being able to know that I have the ability, and as long as I play my game, I know that I can be good on the field and shine.”

Of the keepers to take to action in the CPL’s opening two weeks, the average age clocks in at over 27. Christopher Kalongo and Pacific’s Emil Gazdov are the only players under that age, but represent 75% of the clean sheets after matchweek two – though, like them, the season is young.

Christopher relishes the opportunity.

“I haven’t done anything yet,” says the 22-year-old. “I still have a lot of stuff to do.”

Source: Forge Audio Network

Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

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