Sheldon Bateau (born 29 January 1991) is a Trinidadian professional footballer who plays as a central defender for Krylia Sovetov Samara in the Russian Football National League.
He once attended Fatima College where he played in the Secondary School Football League. He currently represents the Trinidad and Tobago National Team.
Describe your experiences playing in Russia, both good and bad.
Playing in Russia hasn’t been easy but I have grown as time went by. It was definitely a step up from the Belgium League and with that step came some challenges also, but I’ve managed to grow on and off the field. Firstly Samara is 8 hours ahead of Trinidad & Tobago so it’s not easy to keep in contact with friends and family, then the distance is further so getting to and from an international game is more challenging.The weather is also very cold in the winter and I think most players coming from my side of the world would definitely want to go elsewhere but thankfully there’s a long winter break so the extremely cold weather I’ve never got. All in all Russia has been an amazing experience thus far and taking into account that I’ve played against some world class players like Hulk, Song, Promes, Ivanovic ,Arshavin and many more.
As a kid, who or what inspired you to become a footballer?
I grew up in a family and community of footballers so it was easy for me to decide on being a footballer, but I think if it wasn’t for my father’s role in Super Star Rangers back then and my brother being a few years older than me and already kicking a ball I don’t think I would have the same passion and love for the sport.
What do you miss most about being away from home?
Being away from home is easy for me because I’ve always seen myself playing professional football abroad. I prepared myself mentally for it by not getting attached to too many people and things that can’t help me in my line of work. So I mostly miss family, close friends and some food dishes but I’ve learned to cook for myself so the food I can hold out on until I’m home, hahaha. I’ve learned to cope with the other things like parties, liming and Carnival because it’s definitely not the same on the other side of the world but those things would always be there, even when my time has come to stop playing football.
What advice do you have to the upcoming footballers?
My advice for upcoming footballers is to read and educate yourself about life and the real world and not only what happens in Trinidad and Tobago or your community because it’s not an easy life playing professional football and living away from home for most of your career, they need to be strong not only physically but mentally because if you don’t teach yourself to be that way then nobody would teach you because there will be hard times and tough days but with a good mentality and solid foundation you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not give up. Also, set goals; big and small so that you know you’re on the right path towards success because without goals you’d just be like a ship moving with the current and the wind and going anywhere and in the end nowhere but with goals you’ll know what you want, so it’s just to see it in your mind and believe you can achieve it.
Being a defender, who would you say was/is your most challenging attacker?
I believe a lot in myself and my abilities so I believe I can stop the best in the world! I’ve played against Lewandowski and he was no problem for me, I’ve played against Argentina with Messi, Di Maria and I had control of them for most of the game. Seeing that I’ve never played again Ronaldo I’d have to say Messi was the most challenging attacker for me thus far.
How do you indulge in the Russian culture? What do you do in your free time?
Russian culture is full of history and it’s nice to see how many people still live and appreciate the simple things in life so there’s not that much to indulge in but in my free time I go to the malls or I chill with teammates or my girlfriend if she’s there with me. In my city there’s not much to do so the perfect replacement would be to play FIFA.
Who do you think will win the champions league and why?
I think Juventus would win the Champions League because for me they have the perfect balance that any coach or player would like to be a part of and even though Real Madrid is a strong team I think it would be difficult to get past Buffon along with Chellini and Bonucci whom I admire very much!!
The most asked question, Messi or Ronaldo? And why?
This one is difficult to answer, ahhahaha because I’ve been a Ronaldo fan for many years so I know what he’s capable of and I have played against Messi and I’ve seen first hand what he can do. They are both world class players no doubt and shouldn’t be compared because their style is different but I like players that mean business and don’t joke around so I’ll have to go with Ronaldo. Over the years he has transformed into an unstoppable machine.
If you had the opportunity to be a professional in another sport, what would it be?
Honestly, I’ve been asked this question many times and I’ve never been able to answer it because I can’t imagine my life without football, it’s all I know and it’s what I live for.
How would you describe Trinidad and Tobago’s chances for World Cup 2018?
I think we still have a very good chance of qualifying but it’s not going to be easy. We need to take it one game at a time and not just hope for the best but work towards achieving our goal. We have a good group of players, a staff and country that believes in us so in the end it’s just for us to play the game the way we can and with the confidence and conviction that we have shown in the past.