Ex-Downs winger questions future

A former Mamelodi Sundowns winger is questioning his future in the game.

Toni Silva was with Sundowns for half a season last term, before making a move to Egypt where he currently plays for Al Ittihad. There was a lot expected of him when he joined Sundowns, considering he was in the youth teams of English Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as Portuguese outfit Benfica.

But things have not quite worked out for him since then, moving from club to club, while changing agents along the way. He feels agents have taken advantage of him, trying to make a quick buck and not really taking care of his interests.

In an effort to get help, he even tried to get help from a former opponent in the youth structures.

"I used to speak with Paul Pogba when he was at Juventus and he was trying to help put me in touch with a better agent and with some clubs," Silva said in an interview with BBC Sport.

"But it didn't work out. The problem is I have never had someone in my life to help me, to guide me, to give me direction and show me the way. Agents have taken advantage of me and I've had some terrible moves because agents were chasing money, not looking after me.

He admits that he does not know how much longer he can go through what he’s gone through, but his desire to play in England again keeps him going.

"I'm just trying to play football to support my family but I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. I really want to play in England again and this is keeping me going. I miss it so much and would do anything to play there. 

"I think I am still playing now because of what English football taught me. To be tough, to be strong, and to fight. I try to remember this.

"It is normal to get frustrated but I will keep trying. Still, maybe just two or three years more may be enough for me."

When he watches Manchester City star Raheem Sterling, a player he played with in the Liverpool youth side, Silva feels like giving it up all.

"I feel I let myself down somehow but I honestly don't know what more I could have done. I get frustrated because I thought I deserved a chance and if I had got that opportunity, who knows where I could be now?

"I loved playing for Liverpool but now when I watch Suarez play at Barca, Sterling at City and even Conor Coady at Wolves, I sometimes feel like I just want to give it all up.

"When people are texting me saying 'that could have been you', it makes me want to leave football. It makes me feel so down, so sad. I always have this in my mind."

Silva is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations with Guinea-Bissau.