Patson Daka: I get a lot of encouragement from the senior players
Seventeen year old Patson Daka has probably been the most talked about Zambian soccer player in the country for different reasons.
The budding talent has spent the better part of the year with the national teams having captained the U17 at CAF Championship before joining the U20 national team at the CAF Championship a week later.
He has since played for the U23 and senior national team which saw him lead Zambia’s attack against Guinea Bissau in the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup qualifier.
The Zambian Super League (ZSL) caught up with striker who is reported to be headed for a trial at Lille of France and shared this verbatim;
ZSL: At what age did you realize that you were going to be a professional football player?
Patson: When I was 14 years old.
ZSL: What made you move from Kafue Celtic to Nchanga Rangers?
Patson: Firstly it was the fact that Rangers is in the Super League. It is a team with a great history. Other motivating factors were the coach and my chances of having game time. Fighton Simukonda is one of the best coaches and I was keen to work with him. I also saw that I would have enough game time at Rangers.
ZSL: Growing up, which players were your role models locally as well as internationally?
Patson: Locally I always looked up to Mukuka Mulenga. He has great touches on the ball. Internationally, my idol is Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Barcelona.
ZSL: In recent years, there has been no player in Zambia that has represented the country at Under17, Under20, Under23 as well as the Senior national team at the same time, how does that make you feel?
Patson: I feel good about it, but I must quickly add that it’s not easy. I need to work extra hard so as to show why I am selected at all four levels.
ZSL: How does the selection at all four national levels affect your club commitment?
Patson: It is quite challenging because I miss many club games but it is manageable, it helps me work hard. This season I have played only six games for my club and over 10 games at national level. It is an exciting challenge that is helping me grow as a player. it is a rare opportunity that I thank God for.
ZSL:How do you feel about your club being in the bottom three right now and how do you intend to help the situation?
Patson: It really hurts me to see that the club is not doing so well. I will soon be with the guys and I will do my best to improve my club’s position. I know things will be okay. I watched the guys play a very good game last Sunday, beating Mighty by three goals to nil. That was very motivating and I know we are going to get even better.
ZSL: You have recently been drafted into the senior national team, how does that make you feel?
Patson: It gives me a lot of motivation and makes me realize that I have to work really hard. The senior players really encourage me and I feel really good about that.
ZSL: You had your first senior start against Guinea Bissau last weekend, did you expect that?
Patson: To be honest I didn’t expect to start, and it seems nobody in camp expected me to start that game. When the team was announced, I got lots of encouragement from the senior players. They told me to just play my game and not to fear anything or anyone, they told me that they believed in me and I was really humbled.
ZSL: Patson, which of the four national levels to you enjoy playing at the most?
Patson: I enjoy all of them but I am most comfortable at Under17 level because most of my peers are there. I get a lot of pressure at that level because I have to prove to my friends why I am selected for more senior squads and also to show them that they can also get an opportunity if they just play well. I am also happy to lead the team as Captain.
ZSL: Who is your closest friend in the football circles?
Patson: Larry Bwalya Jr of Power Dynamos. We have been friends from grade 10.
ZSL: You have played under coach Fighton Simukonda at club level, under 23 level and most recently at senior national team level, what do you have to say about him?
Patson: Firstly I would like to say thank you to him because he has played a key role in my career so far. He is a great coach who gives players opportunities. He gives a chance to everyone to prove themselves. I am happy that he has confidence in me and gives me adequate game time. Coach Fighton is like a father figure to me. He encourages me even on matters that do not relate to football and gives me good advice.
ZSL: Talking of advice, who advises you on your money matters? You must be earning significantly more than you expected as a result of playing for the national team at all four levels.
Patson: My money matters are mainly handled by my mother. My club earnings go straight to my mother, after which I tell her how much I need for upkeep and she gives it to me. What I earn from the national team is deposited into my account by my mother and my sister into my savings account. Whenever I need money for something, I tell them and they give it to me.
ZSL: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Patson: I have had many great moments, but I think I would pick the Africa cup qualifying games where I was the top scorer with five goals.
ZSL: Which are your most memorable goals?
Patson: That would be difficult for me to state. I have scored quite a number of goals in the last one year but I think I would pick the two goals that I scored in Botswana last year.
ZSL: Patson, we wish we could speak to you for far longer but we know you have to prepare for your trip to Namibia this afternoon. Thank you very much and all the best.
Patson: Thank you so much.
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