5 minutes with Professional Rugby player, Christian Ambadiang.
On Sunday's it's all about playing with the dog, relaxed days on the couch and making a hearty Sunday meal, a vast comparison to the Rugby player who lives for his passion. He is a fun, family-orientated person who grew up in Cameroon and now plays for the Southern Kings, SA Life Mag sat down with Christian Ambadiang and got to know the Professional Sportsman a little better.
What words best describe you?
Fun, loving, charismatic, calm, adventurous, family oriented
What goal have you set for yourself this season?
Making my Pro14 debut
What was your childhood like?
I was born in Cameroon. I grew up with my mother until I came to live with my dad in South Africa at the age of 10/11. In Cameroon my living conditions were not the best as my mom tried her best to make ends meet to take care of me and herself, although my dad sent money to help out with my schooling. My mom was very strict and she was big on discipline. The same goes for my dad, although they were not together. My parents are not married. Eventually my dad brought me to South Africa for a better life, but it was not what I expected despite it being very different. It was a bumpy road and my childhood can be described as tough, but it shaped me to be who I am today. It taught me resilience and it made me independent. The discipline and tough conditions at home made me mature fast. I wanted my dad to focus on my younger siblings therefore I started to make my own way and decisions, obviously with consulting him. I guess that is also how I came about playing rugby. I wanted to make a better life for myself and I saw the potential to succeed and it once again did not always go my way but I am grateful for the opportunities that was given to me at the time to reach where I am now and still I carry that motivation because I still have a long way to go to reach my financial independence to such an extent that I can help my father and mother live better lives as well.
When did you first discover your love for playing rugby?
I was more of an athlete and soccer player in primary school and early high school years. In grade 9 the vice principal, Mr Schneitler, was the first team coach at the time. He gave me my first pair of rugby boots and persuaded me to join my age group. He took some of his time off to help me with skills since I have never played rugby before. That’s is where I discovered my love for rugby.
Who are you when you’re simply at home, on a Sunday afternoon?
When at home I mostly relax, catch up on TV, play with my dog and make food. I love to cook.
Who do you admire within the South African sporting industry, and why?
Caster Semenya, because people always criticise her on her appearance and judge her for it. And through all that she just does what she does best and do not let that negativity stop her from achieving her goals.
How do you deal with negative criticism?
I don’t engage with it. I am big on proving those who criticise me wrong by continuing to do me.
Who is your role model and why?
I would say my parents because they never give up even when life gets tough. They always supported me. They taught me to persevere and not use my circumstances as an excuse not to excel.
Where’s the most interesting place you have travelled to and why?
Georgia, because of their culture and how united the people are there.
What motto or words do you live by?
I really love the scripture verse: Philipians 4:13 which says “ I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”.
Words I live by: “You only fail when you stop trying”.
We all know that the media doesn’t always get all their info correct, what is the strangest thing you have read or heard about yourself that wasn’t true?
People think that I use steroids because of my body build. People also portray me as violent and disrespectful especially after the incident I had in 2018 that I got a ban for. I had people sending me rude messages calling me a thug etc. Looks can be deceiving and yes people will always judge a book by its cover but all of this is not true about me. I don’t pay attention to the negativity because I know who I am and what I stand by. All that matters to me is the people in my corner, how they perceive me.
In your sporting career, you get to meet a wide variety of people. Who was your most memorable?
I am sure you have encountered a few fans along the way, what has been your favourite fan encounter?
I was sitting at a Wakaberry in Stellenbosch, and a lady approached me and asked for my autograph and at first I was sceptical because many people mistake me for Siya Kolisi, I even get stopped in the mall or public spaces and they get agitated when I don’t answer. And so she told me that she recognised me from the game we (Southern Kings) played against Namibia, and I was quite pleased by that and gave her my autography.
Did you always see yourself as a professional rugby player, or did you have different dreams as a child?
No, I saw myself more of a soccer player.
What has been your most challenging decision in your career thus far? What made it so challenging.
Choosing between staying in South Africa or leaving the country. It was challenging because I am still young and my family/support system is here in South Africa.
Life after rugby- what do you see yourself doing in 10 years’ time?
House husband (jokes).
I see myself going into a health and fitness orientated career.
Everyone harbours a pet peeve. What is yours?
When people smoke cigarettes close to me.
Final question- if you could choose any superhero to play on a big budget Hollywood production, who would you play?
The Incredible Hulk
70% or zero sugar Dark Chocolate
Favourite TV show?
90 Days to wed on TLC
Favourite travel item?
Favourite clothing brand?
Favourite childhood memory?
Playing soccer with my cousins in my grandmother’s yard in Cameroon and my uncle giving my cousins and I hidings for playing in the rain when we were not supposed to (haha).
Your woman crush Wednesday?
My Girlfriend (Andréa)
Favourite holiday destination?
Must have fashion accessory?
I do not drink alcohol so I love an appletiser.
Follow him on Instagram: @chrisfrank_11