Interview with Algeria U23 international Camiel Neghli (De Graafschap FC)
After Karim Bridji and more recently Ramiz Zerrouki, another Dutch-born Algerian is starting to make his mark on Algerian football. Born in Ede, Netherlands, Camiel Neghli is a winger for Eerste Divisie club De Graafschap and has also been called up to the Algeria U23 national team.
We caught up with Neghli for an interview to talk about his career and his aspirations as a player.
For starters, can you introduce yourself to our readers.
Camiel Neghli, I am 21 years old and play for De Graafschap in the second division in the Netherlands. I’ve been playing here since the youth ranks and since the past 2-3 seasons with the first team.
Tell us a bit about your career so far.
I started playing in local teams and after two years I joined FC Twente. I spent just one season and moved to De Graafschap, and I’ve been playing with them ever since.
What is your preferred position on the pitch? What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
I prefer to play as an attacking midfielder, but this season I’ve been playing mostly as right winger. My strengths are my dribbling, vision and my speed. I need to improve my strength for duels.
Last year you were called up to the Algeria U23 national team. How did the FA find out about you and contact you?
Someone was tracking me for a long time, I think since I was 14 years oold. He would put players with Algerian roots in Europe on the radar. He knew the coach of the Algeria U23 national team and let him know about me.
What was your reaction when you were called up for the first time by Algeria?
I was very happy, Algeria is my father’s country. My family come from there so it was an honor for me. It was also a new adventure, to meet new people and a different way of playing. So it was good for me to learn new things and play on a big stage to show my qualities to a new public.
You speak Dutch and English, did you have any difficulty integrating the squad due to the language barrier since most of the players only speak Arabic and French?
Some of them could talk english pretty well but some of them could not at all. However, on the field it was not a problem. Outside the pitch, at the start was it difficult but later I found a way to talk with people and of course with the players who spoke English I talked to more.
Where are you originally from in Algeria and do you go back often?
My family come from the capital Algiers. When I was young I used to come every year to spend my holidays in Algeria. I think the last time that I visited Algeria was when I was 11 years old, after that I never went back until last summer. It was great to see Algeria again, and I also got a chance to visit my family and it was good to see them again.
What are you short term and long term objectives in your career?
Short term, my goal is to be important for My club and improve my game, score goals, reate assists and earn a transfer. For long term, I want to play in the Bundesliga, I think this competition suits me well and the atmosphere really appeals to me. For my international carreer, I want to help the national team. I hope I can be in the first team for Algeria and contribute my part to the success. It would be a big honor for me, and a dream come true.
Interview: Walid Ziani