Where are they now? Former Spurs Academy player Christian Maghoma:

(This photograph of Christian Maghoma scoring a superb headed goal against West Ham United’s under 23 side in a Premier League International Cup game in 2017, is from Tottenham Hotspur FC.)

Christian Maghoma spent many years at Spurs as an Academy player, and the central defender would rise up the ranks at Spurs to play as high up as under 23 level for the club, a side which he would captain on a good number of occasions. Born in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997, but brought up in north London, Christian Maghoma attended Finchley High School and he joined Spurs’ Academy while his older brother Jacques Maghoma was still at the club (Christian’s younger brother Paris joined him at Spurs not too long afterwards). A tall and determined centre-half, as a youth player Maghoma was a part of the England side that won the Victory Shield in 2012 (Luke Amos and Josh Onomah were also part of that squad). A schoolboy during the following 2013/14 season, Maghoma made the step up to play for Spurs’ under 18 side on 18 occasions in competitive games (he scored two goals), and he was an important member of the Spurs side that won the southern division that season (he also played in the semi-final play-off game against Everton at the end of that season). Impressive throughout the 2013/14 season, during his first year of scholarship in the following 2014/15 season the defender made a good number more appearances for the Spurs under 18 side, and he would also play for the then under 21 side on a decent number of occasions (he scored one goal in a 2-0 league victory over Fulham at the end of that season). A season of fine progress (2015/16) followed for Christian as he played mostly for the under 21 side, while also stepping down to play for the under 18’s on occasions. He also went out on a short loan to Yeovil Town, but he didn’t make a competitive first team appearance for them.

In the 2016/17 season (Christian was now a first year professional at the club) Maghoma was a mainstay in the new Spurs under 23 side, captaining the side on a good number of occasions and also putting in some really strong performances over the course of the season. A players who will provide constant encouragement (he used to talk the younger defenders of the Spurs under 23 side through games)  and motivation to his teammates on the pitch, Maghoma showed this throughout his time at Spurs, the tall and commanding centre-half who is outstanding in the air,  strong in the challenge and aggressive in defence, is also a real leader. The leadership that he showed on a regular basis at Spurs at both under 18 and under 23 level was very impressive, as was the alertness of his defending and ability to get in front of opposing forwards at the crucial time. Maghoma’s final season at Spurs saw him become a very important and experienced member of the under 23 side, and he played almost every game for them during the 2017/18 season, with games against Arsenal (we won 3-1), Liverpool when he defended really well against Danny Ings (we won 1-0) and Manchester United at Old Trafford (Spurs won that game 3-1) some of the matches that Maghoma put strong performances in. A player who really loves defending and whose footballing hero is the great Ledley King, left Spurs at the end of the 2017/18 season after his contract at the club came to an end in the summer of 2018. I always enjoyed watching Christian play for Spurs, I loved his passion on the pitch, his qualities as a leader and also his no-nonsense approach to defending. 

Whenever Maghoma played alongside the slightly younger Japhet Tanganga at centre-half, they both formed a very strong defensive partnership, and both were key to Spurs’ under 23 side surviving relegation to the Premier League 2 Division Two in 2018. Christian’s former Spurs teammate Samuel Shashoua recently described to me what it was like to be around Christian Maghoma at Spurs. Samuel said “ it was a pleasure to be his teammate. He was so big and commanding in the air, but still had loads of technical ability and composure to be able to play through the press. Off the pitch I’m lucky enough to call him one of my closest friends. One of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is playing in one of the top leagues! ”After leaving Spurs in the summer of 2018 the Democratic Republic of the Congo international (he won his one international cap so far for them in a friendly in 2017) joined then Polish Ekstraklasa side Arka Gdynia and his time with them got off to a great start. Christian won his first senior competitive trophy with Arka Gdynia on his competitive debut for them, as they beat Legia Warsaw 3-2 to win the Superpuchar Polski. Maghoma did have to wait a while before he made his Arka Gdynia league debut, but the then 21 year old did make 15 league appearances for his new side that season. A young player who made the decision to experience a new footballing culture, Maghoma got a really good run in the Arka Gdynia side during the following 2019/20 season (he made 20 Polish Ekstraklasa appearances that season. All of which were at centre-half), and he got his one and only goal involvement (an assist) for Arka Gdynia in a 4-1 league win over Łks Łódź.

I did watch a fair few of Christian’s games for Arka Gdynia in the Polish Ekstraklasa  during his time at the club, and I always thought that he was solid, confident and commanding in his defending. Also, something which I didn’t mention earlier on in this piece when talking briefly talking about Christian’s style of play was his passing ability and distribution from defence, something which I’ve always been impressed with, especially his ability to spray the ball out to teammates in wide positions with good accuracy. While at Spurs he also had a growth spurt, which would have been challenging for him, but he has managed to adapt his game. In total Maghoma made 39 competitive first team appearances for Arka Gdynia during his time in Poland, but unfortunately at the end of the 2019/20 season the club were relegated to the second tier of Polish football. Christian left Arka Gdynia in the May of 2020 during that season, to return to England, and he would have gained a lot of invaluable experience from playing regular first team football in a league in Europe. After some time without a club Christian signed for English League One side Gillingham (joining up with former Spurs teammate Connor Ogilvie) in the August of last year, and after training with them in pre-season he made his competitive debut for the club in a League Cup first round tie against Southend United in September of last year, helping them to keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory. The now 23 year old centre-half has since made ten more competitive appearances for Gillingham’s first team, but he has missed some of the season with injury. Earlier on in this piece Samuel Shashoua mentioned what a great guy Christian Maghoma is, and also that he believes that Christian will play in a top league at some point in the future.

 I totally agree with what Samuel said about Christian Maghoma, and I would like to wish Christian all the very best of luck for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he will get a really good run of games for Gillingham during the remainder of this season, as that is exactly what he needs. I also feel that he has a lot to look forward to in the game in the future.

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