Leeds United fans may have some fairly fond memories of Jordan Botaka, but those will largely be confined to YouTube. When Uwe Rosler snapped up the talented wideman from Dutch outfit Excelsior in the summer of 2015, Leeds fans flocked to YouTube to see Botaka in action. His showcase of raw pace, strength and agility had fans thinking Leeds had just secured a future superstar.
Unfortunately, that is not what happened.
Instead, Rosler was sacked by trigger finger chairman Massimo Cellino and replacement Steve Evans must not have seen the YouTube clips.
He was not a fan of Botaka and openly criticised his attitude. As quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post back in February 2016, Evans claimed Botaka was ‘very fortunate’ to be playing in the game, suggesting he was only picked due to a shortage of players.
It was a comment which Botaka strongly rebuked in August of that year, telling the YEP he would not have his efforts called into question.
Botaka played 14 games for Leeds, registering just one assist. He was subsequently loaned to Charlton Athletic for the 2016-17 campaign and released by Leeds in July 2017.
But it seems Botaka is finally living up to that online promise. The 26-year-old has thrived at Sint-Truiden in Belgium, captaining the side, and has now earned a move to KAA Gent.
Gent finished second in the shortened Belgian First Division A this season and will therefore participate in the Champions League next term, starting with the third qualifying round.
As Botaka told the club’s official website, that notion excites him.
“I am very positive, both on and off the pitch and I am very much looking forward to this new challenge.
“As a player I am versatile, I usually play as a left-winger but I can also play well in midfield and as a right back.
“My ambitions at the club? Early in the season qualify for the Champions League and of course become champions. We should aspire to that!”
It is great to see that Botaka has finally found his feet and he would certainly be a player that appeals to current Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa.
Capable on either wing or at full-back during his time at Sint-Truiden, his versatility and hard-working nature has now earned him a chance to shoot for Champions League football.
No Leeds United fan would begrudge him any future success in Belgium.