Zambia’s most successful footballing exports, Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu recently took time out from a busy training camp in Doha, Qatar with their team FC Red Bull Salzburg to open up about their experiences following a great UEFA Champions League showing in the European autumn.
Daka’s push-in against Genk was the first goal by a Zambian player in the UEFA Champions League, earning him a shout-out from Zambian president, Edgar Chagwa Lunga and igniting support from across the African continent.
Asked about the experience playing with Salzburg in the Champions League, Daka said he felt it was just the beginning of “greater things” to come and that the goal was an “answered prayer” that came a lot quicker than he had imagined.
Exuding calm and confidence, Daka’s serious demeanour occasionally broke into a mischievous smile when he described some of the lighter moments he and Mwepu had shared during their time with the club (see video below). The 21-year-old referred to his Chipolopolo teammate and Salzburg midfielder as a “genius”.
Mwepu, an energetic midfielder who will often take unexpected lines to contend both up front and at the back, is widely known as “Computer” and is described by some of his fans as Zambia’s ‘best talent ever’; though in person he is modest and unassuming. Recognition from fans and from the Zambian president was “something special”, he said.
Neither player would know at the time of the interview that both European and intenational games would be suspended but on his highly popular Facebook page, Dakar has said that while missing the feeling of being on the pitch, “nothing is more important than everyone’s health & safety. That should always be a first priority”.
Both Mwepu and Daka have considerable followings on social media, while Mwepu also has a personal diary that he updates daily for his fans, in order to share his experiences.
Patson, a Caf nominee for Youth Player of the Year, in December extended his contract with the club he first joined on July 1, 2017, to 2024. Mwepu, a two-times Austria league winner and one time Austria cup winner and an Africa under-20 winner with Zambia, signed at Salzburg in July 2018, a year after Daka and also extended his contract in December.