By Isaac Buchan
Peterhead’s new signing Rico Quitongo recently spoke with NE98’s Isaac Buchan about his move to the North-East, growing up in a footballing family and playing under Jim Duffy.
We’re going to go back to the very start, what’s your earliest footballing memory from your childhood?
“Probably going to one of my dads’ games. Don’t know what one because he was a journeyman, so probably one of my dads’ games with my brother.”
Your father Jose was a professional footballer for over 20 years. How was it growing up with a professional footballer as your dad?
“My dad’s quite a chill guy, he’s a bit similar to me and my brother, we all carry on. It’s more my mum, my dad was chill, took us to the park every day whereas it was my mum who was keeping us disciplined and on the right track. My dad was fine in that way, he wanted us to be happy and still does to this day no matter what level we play at. As long as I’m happy and playing my football that’s all that matters”
You started your career in the Hamilton and Hearts Youth teams, what was it like playing with two teams whose youth setups have produced so much talent over the years?
“It was amazing. I just think I was so young that I was maybe a bit complacent and not doing the extra I’m doing now. I wish obviously that I could go back but that’s hindsight. It was amazing growing up there and I’ve still got a lot of friends growing up there playing for Hamilton and one playing for Hearts. I’ve matured a lot now, I’m 22 now and doing what I should’ve been doing 6 years ago but its all about being mature now”.
You then moved on to Dumbarton making over 50 appearances in 2 seasons, how was your first experience as a first team player playing consistently?
“It was amazing, to play under Jim Duffy, he’s still a friendly face I can send a text to. Playing for him and getting into senior football from not playing at all was hard but Covid cancelled a lot, I haven’t actually played a full season with a full team yet. I loved every single minute of my time at Dumbarton, and it was a dog fight last year to keep them in the league. I loved every single minute of it”.
And now after a short spell at Airdrie you’ve arrived at Balmoor, how does it feel to sign for Peterhead?
“I’m delighted, I knew a lot of the Glasgow based boys anyway so I never felt nervous going into it but the training took me by surprise how good the standard was and the talent the boys have got. I know we’re a young team, but we’ve got talented players who are ready to go and play. Hopefully I’ll be involved on Saturday with the boys”.
You said in a previous interview that you’d began training with the boys, how’s your first few sessions went so far and are you looking to be involved on Saturday against East Fife?
“The sessions have been amazing to be honest. It’s Si (Ferry) taking it so it’s a hard shift but its really good and enjoyable. It’s good as well the gaffer giving you small pointers. It’s hands on which is really good so I’m fit, I’m hopefully feeling flying going into Saturday to play or to come off the bench and get the chance to show the manager what I can do in a game”.
You called manager Jim McInally a ‘genuine guy’ this week, how has he been to train under him so far and was he a major factor in you choosing to come to The Blue Toon?
“He’s a chilled-out guy but he’s also a legend of a guy, similar to Jim Duffy. Just old school and I like someone that’s straight to the point. So again, when I was leaving my old club, he made a phone call to me. It was nice just to talk to me, how I was and all that because at the end of the day we’re all human beings. So once I was all clear to sign it was a matter of a 2-minute phone call to get the paperwork sorted and go to training. He was a big factor but again he is similar to Jim Duffy, I’ve got similar praises for him, so I owe him one.
Thanks to Rico for taking time out of his day to take part in this interview.