There was more good news for Oxford United this week with Malachi Napa making good progress after missing three months of the season with a virus.
The energetic young forward returned from a loan at Macclesfield at the turn of the year but it was only on Thursday and Friday last week that he was able to return to the training pitches.
“Just being out on the pitches again was great” he told iFollow. “Last week was mostly about testing and seeing how I reacted to certain things. Fortunately I reacted well and that means I can keep building and keep pushing to try and complete my recovery. It’s not full training yet, that’s a little way off, but I am interacting with the ball and able to join in with lots of things; it’s just that I’m not fully physically fit yet. It wouldn’t be realistic for me to jump straight back in to training. If I did that then I am likely to get injuries. So initially it was just the warm ups and the passing and then some straight line running to get myself going again.
“It’s all about the fitness now and where I can get myself to in two or three months because I was out for that long and missed two or three months of first team football.”
“It ruined my season but sometimes things happen for a reason and maybe it was my time to take a rest and build my strength up to help improve myself. I haven’t given up on this season but if not then I’d hope to come back strongly for pre-season and ready to challenge.”
Malachi’s return has coincided with Rob Hall and Jon Obika also progressing to the training pitches for some running work, with Shandon Baptiste not too far behind.
“Shandon is a good friend and we came through as scholars together” Malachi said. “It’s crazy that he has been out the same time as me and we are coming through our recovery together at the same time now. It’s good to have his company and we keep pushing each other along. Hally has always been there for me as well and he wants the best for me which is great; he will be back stronger I guarantee. Jon is a great character too, so helpful and massively supportive towards me; I can’t thank him enough.”
Oxford fans will be glad to see Malachi back on the pitch, whether it’s this season or later in the summer, and he believes that a positive mental outlook has been key in getting him through a tough few weeks.
“Positivity, 100%” he said. “I decided this year to have a positive outlook no matter what. That is so important in life, whether you are a footballer or just in life in general. There is always something good in life. Just keep working hard and hard work always brings you something. That’s evident everywhere you look, so stay positive, and I know that if I do that it will help me come back stronger than ever and ready to play again.”
See the full interview in iFollow right now.