A TALK ABOUT HIS START TO FOOTBALL IN ZAMBIA, HIS BIG CHILDHOOD DREAM OF PLAYING IN LIVERPOOL AND HIS IMPRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR FC SALZBURG.
Your nickname is The Computer. Could you explain how this came about, please?
“This is all to do with a coach at my football academy in Zambia. I impressed him with my technique and dribbles, and he called me The Computer. Yeah, and somehow the name has stuck with me until today.”
When you came to Salzburg, you used to always warm your football boots and gloves up before training sessions. How are you coping with the Austrian winter these days?
“It was really hell for me back then. I had never experienced cold like that, and I could barely move in training at first as a result. I put everything I could on the radiator before the sessions to get a bit of warmth. Since then I seem to have got used to the winter temperatures. The cold doesn’t bother me now.”
You played for FC Liefering at first, and now you have been with the Red Bulls for two years. How important was it for you to start in Liefering?
“Hugely important! FC Salzburg follow a single philosophy from the bottom up. I have been developed to the very highest level here as a footballer, and I have also been able to develop as a person. I am very grateful to the club and everyone who works for it for that.”
Can you remind us how you started to play football?
“My father played it. He never became a professional, but he was really good. He just loves the sport. He passed this love onto me, and I wanted just one thing since I was a little boy – to become a professional footballer. I used to wake up in the middle of the night to watch Liverpool matches on TV. I said to myself – I want to play there at some time!“
Sounds like you made a career plan …
“… It’s more like a dream, I would say. Dreams can become reality though. I am living the dream here in Salzburg. It has been a hard path to make it here, but I have managed it with the support of my family. I am very grateful to them and to God.”
You have played over 60 matches now. How would you say things have gone for you, and how pleased are you with your own development?
“I think I have developed well – also because I have always been allowed to take the next step at the right time here in Salzburg. You develop as a result of new challenges and experiences, of course. The UEFA Champions League matches were very special experiences, which I will probably never forget.”
Now we are in the UEFA Europa League. What is the importance of this competition for you?
“Take a look around! The Arena is sold out, the floodlights will be on – while the players and fans just can’t wait for the match. That says everything you need to know about the competition.”
What can we do against Frankfurt?
“We didn’t play well last week. Actually we can only possibly do better this time. Frankfurt were good, but we didn’t make it particularly difficult for them. We have to be more concentrated, go into challenges with more determination and just give everything we’ve got. A 3-0 win will put us through!”