Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: Freedom fighter, Nobel peace prize winner and role model for many. Felix Olof Allan Nelson Beijmo: right back, Swedish youth team international, SV Werder new boy. A seemingly unusual comparison at first glance, yet upon reconsideration, both names share a remarkable history. “My parents were in awe of him”, explains Beijmo when asked about his third middle name. However, they weren’t so much obsessed with the name Nelson itself, rather the absolute desire to achieve something.
“I take everything very seriously: nutrition, training and recovery. Football is my life, I live, breathe and dream about the game”, said Felix Beijmo, who is very audacious at the age of 20: “I am someone who wants to start games and score goals. I have lofty aspirations.”
The leap from the Swedish top-flight with Djurgardens IF to the Bundesliga is a large one, but Beijmo is well aware. “Normally you go from Sweden to the Netherlands, Denmark or a similar league”, he explains. Yet the ambitious defender has not chosen the well-trodden path. He wanted to take his chances in Germany. “We have a long pre-season schedule. I’m not afraid and will train incredibly hard, as I always do”, he asserts.
Finally, the right back has high hopes for the club. “We want to do better than last season. Our aim is the top half of the table”, he clarifies. An ambitious goal, no doubt about it. But as Beijmo’s third middle namesake showed during his struggle against Apartheid in South Africa: Courage, ambition and absolute intent are key to achieving challenging goals. Mandela fought against social injustice, just as Beijmo will fight for his place in the team.