Reading move ‘was a mistake, Timbe says as he arrives for holiday after winning Cup title at Thailand giants
Harambee Stars forward Ayub Timbe Masika has opened up for the first time about his short stint at English Championship side Reading FC.
Masika, who joined Thailand’s Buriram United last December, says the move to Reading in 2020 had negative implications on his finances and career growth. In an exclusive interview with People Daily Sport, the 29-year-old Kenyan opines that he had to take a pay cut to join Reading in Berkshire on loan from Chinese Club Beijing Renhe and describes the move as “a wrong decision”.
“I took the pay cut to join Reading. It was a big one and I think that is where things went south for me,” Masika told People Sport in Nairobi.
The fleet-footed winger, who has featured for Harambee Stars on 24 outings since 2012, has also revealed that Reading was impressed by his show at the Madjeski Stadium and Hogwood Park and had offered him a four-year contract that could see him sign permanently after his initial six months loan deal but the plan was aborted due a 65 per cent pay cut that his management could not withstand.
“At the beginning, they wanted me for six month but after two months of training they came back and said they like how I train and that I had shown clear intentions to be in the team and offered a four-year contract. However the pay cut was way below what I was getting in China,” Masika says.
The former Genk midfielder says after consultations with his financial management team,they rejected the offer, noting that it could sustain his investment plans.
“What I was being offered in those four years is equivalent to what I was getting in China in eight months. As you may be aware, a contract extension refusal could impact negatively on your playing time and I guess that is exactly what happened”.
During his stay with the 2015 FA Cup Semi-finalists, Masika was featured sparingly and only managed five appearances - most of them as a substitute - under Coach Mark Bowen.
The eccentric midfielder has showered praises on Kenyans who flanked Reading’s social media handles demanding for his playtime.
“Most of the Kenyans fans may not know how they played a key role for me when I was at Reading.
“The fans were lovely through their messages on twitter and on face book. It reached a point that Reading had to shut down its twitter handle during match days because of the pressure from Kenyans who wanted me to be involved in the team.The support was great and timely and I appreciate them for that”.
He then moved to Vissel Kobe in Japan on February 19, 2021 to feature in the J1 League alongside Barcelona and Spain football icon Andres Iniesta.
He would then terminate his contract with Kobe after just five months of service.
“I was in Japan and there were a lot of politics that I needed more time to fit in the team but I was 28 years old. My feeling was that there was no time to wait for playing time at that age and surely not in Japan.
“If it was somewhere else maybe I could have been considered.
“All in all, I can say I had good time and experience only that I felt like I was wasting time knowing very well that football is a short career which requires good time management,” Masika added.
He has since settled well in Thailand with Buriram United, a club he joined as a free agent in December 2021.
Masika had an impressive performance in his first season at the Chang Arena,winning a treble with the Thai League 1 record holders. He won the league, Thai FA Cup and the Toyota League Cup, playing over twenty matches.
He regrets being left out of the Harambee Stars squad for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers that was assembled by former coach Jacob Ghost Mulee and Engin Firat.
Narrating his disappointment, Masika says Kenya needed the best players available to give a good account.
“I’m always available for the national team whenever I am called upon. It is usually a good feeling to represent my country. But when you are left out you will definitely feel disappointed or disrespected. You could also think that maybe the national team handlers don’t understand your value or input. My ambition is to see Kenya qualify to play at the AFCON again and I’m still available for selection,” he said.