The goalkeeper who didn't like any brand of glove - so he designed his own
Lockdown initially presented Amadou Tangara an opportunity to grow his business - but now the Bognor Regis Town goalkeeper feels the restrictions must end for him to take the next steps.
A the end of last year, the entrepreneur set up the AT Pro Goalkeeping Academy during his time away from the Rocks. He has since designed, produced and sold his own brand of goalkeeper gloves, which launched last November.
Alongside his training sessions, the gloves have gained both popularity and sales through word of mouth and social media, but Tangara is eagerly planning to scale the business once football returns.
The Ivorian spoke of the product’s success so far.
He said: “The gloves are flying. People seem to love them, and I’ve had great reviews so far. I can’t wait for things to go back to some form of normality so we can expand.
“What I want to do now is gain more exposure. As the business grows, I’d like to have my own website so it’s easier to purchase them online.
“The bigger picture here is to target grassroots academies as much as I can. Lots of youngsters will spend excessive amounts of money on the big brands when they don’t need to.
“For a much lower price, our gloves are better quality and are far more durable.”
Tangara’s inspiration to produce his own range of gloves manifested after he struggled to fall in love with any brand.
“The idea has been in the back of my mind for years, but now I have more time on my hands without the football.
“As a goalkeeper, your gloves are so important – they are almost part of your identity. I’ve been wearing different ones for years: Nike; Adidas; Umbro; Puma.
“There was always something missing, and I wanted to have the perfect glove. The only way I could have that was to do it myself,’ said the Nyewood Lane fan favourite.
After manufacturing a pair for himself, Tangara was delighted with the outcome and felt more should profit from the product he had carefully created.
“Obviously, it was important to me to focus on choosing the right grip and finger shape; I opted for the hybrid cut, a combination of the roll finger shape and the negative cut. Personally, the most important part of the glove is the latex, the inside bit you use to touch the ball.
“The material should make them feel like their hands are in a natural position, and it’s designed so that your hands don’t feel cold in winter and don’t sweat in the hot weather.”
The Rocks have offered to support their keeper’s business and will sell his gloves in the club shop once Nyewood Lane reopens.
However, any hopes of an imminent Rocks return were unfortunately quashed by the decision to end the Isthmian premier campaign for a second successive season.
The team will have to wait for summer and pre-season to go again.
Although lockdown has permitted Tangara more time with his family, the Ivorian is struggling with life away from Nyewood Lane and cannot wait for a return next season.
“Psychologically, not being able to play football with your teammates for so long is draining,” he said.
“I admit, I have struggled with it – playing football means so much to me. I try to do some one-on-one training as and when I can to keep my mind healthy, and at least that helps me feel I’m somewhat experiencing the game.”