Ben Cabango | From Euro 2016 fan zones to the big stage
Five years ago Ben Cabango was cheering Wales on to a place in the semi-finals of the European Championship, now he is preparing to play alongside some of the heroes he backed during that unforgettable summer of 2016.
The 20-year-old defender is part of Rob Page’s 26-man squad for the Euro 2020 finals – being played a year later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic – with Wales set to kick-off their Group A campaign against Switzerland on Saturday in Baku.
It completes a meteoric rise for Cabango, who only made his first-team debut for the Swans in August 2019, making his Championship bow a couple of months later.
Cabango was the first player born in the 21st century to represent the Swans first team in league action, and he went on to win his first cap for his country against Finland in September 2020.
Now, he is ready to take a step into rarefied territory as part of just the third Welsh squad to feature at a major finals, and feature alongside the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey having roared them on in 2016.
"Every day I go to work and I love it – I am just so lucky,” said Cabango, speaking on Y Brodyr Cabango: Dau Frawd, Dwy Gêm (The Cabango Brothers: Two Brothers, Two Sports), which will be screened on S4C at 9pm on Tuesday night.
English subtitles will be available, while viewers will also be able to watch the programme on demand, on S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer.
"Playing for Wales has always been my biggest goal. I remember going to the Fan Zone during Euro 2016 and thinking that maybe one day people would be supporting me in the Fan Zone, just like I was supporting the team then.
“It just means so much to me. You have to carry on working hard and make sure that your dream comes true.
"I remember my first game for Wales. We were playing against Finland, and we were winning 1-0 at the time. There was only a minute to go but I was so excited just to come on the pitch. It was bittersweet because my family couldn’t be there, but it was so exciting. After that, all I’ve wanted to do is play more and more for Wales."