After the announcement last week that the league season for 2019/2020 was finished, we caught up with the captain Tosin Olufemi for his thoughts on the season just past, and his hope for the FA Trophy…
What has it been like captaining the team this season? How proud are you of the team performances this campaign?
Firstly, the opportunity given to me by the Gaffer to become captain was an amazing feeling and something I’m forever grateful for. To be honest the group settled quite quickly, and I already knew quite a few of the boys from playing with them or against them over the years – so the responsibility of captaincy felt like a natural transition. I’ve really enjoyed being captain of the side, on and off the pitch. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and dealing with situations over the course of a season. This season has been great I must say, it’s always hard putting a new group together, but credit to the management team for the squad we have because it’s like one big family. I know I can trust each one of my team mates to give 100% each game – it has shown in how well we’ve done this season. I cannot fault anyone and I am very proud of what we’ve achieved as a team this season.
What challenges have the team had to overcome this season?
I think the main challenge we’ve had to face was overcoming a spell where we lost 6 in a row and got knocked out by Margate in the FA Cup during that period. Margate was probably our first big blow of the season, we wanted a good run in the FA Cup and really felt we let ourselves down, the management, Ant the chairman and the fans. Morale during that period wasn’t great, but we know that all we needed was a positive result to turn things around. We felt very unlucky that things weren’t really falling our way in games, a rebound might not drop for us or we’d concede a scrappy goal but ultimately, we never felt sorry for ourselves. It was a massive learning curve for us as a whole group – we continued to work hard in training and take on board as much information as we could to get out of the situation.
As you mentioned every season has high points and low points. What is the role of the captain during those low points?
I’d say my role is to stay composed during the low points. We have a group of young hungry players who are still learning every session and game. During the low points my aim to is to raise those dropped heads and rise up to the situation – no good in keeping heads down and feeling sorry about what has already been done! It’s about learning and moving forward, and I tend to feel that there are times during a game where someone might need a wake-up call – which I also need from my teammates during games too when things aren’t going well. Once we get in that changing room, sprits needed to be lifted as much as possible as we have another game in 3-7 day’s time. “we go again”.
As well as the captaincy, how pleased have you been with your own performances this season?
I’ve been pleased with my performances this season and feel like I improved as the season progressed. I didn’t score last season so getting on the scoresheet was a bonus too lol? Even though I may have had a couple more. I’m happy to play anywhere for the team, be it right back or left back. I could even stretch a midfield Kante role…if Scopesy needs me to!
Obviously the FA Trophy run is a highlight, how desperate are you and the players to try and conclude the competition?
It would mean everything to us to get the opportunity to play the trophy game, one game away from Wembley doesn’t come around often. The journey to get to the semi’s was brilliant and looking back at the results it took a lot of character and mentality to come through – which shows the progress we made over the season. I think the biggest result for us as a team during that run was probably the Bath game just because of the circumstances but would be interesting to see what game the fans pick. Current situation is difficult and who knows what will happen – we will have to wait and see.
Finally do you have a message for the supporters in respect of the season just gone?
To the Concord family, I’d like to thank you all for your support during the season home and away, it meant a lot to us as players. You stuck by us through the rough patches and gave us that extra boost in games like extra time against Leamington! We hope you enjoyed the season as much as we did as players, especially the special moments we got the share together on the pitch during Royston and Leamington. Lastly, special mention to the youth team for their noise and encouragement behind the dug-out and behind both goals. Stay safe everyone!
Tosin was chatting to Chris Clark