Friday, June 21, 2024

Full Interview: It felt like the entire country didn’t want me near a stadium, reveals Patson Daka

Zambia and Leicester City forward Patson ‘Papa’ Daka sat down with Premier League Productions to discuss about his rise from Kafue to England.

He talks about his goal drought at both the national team and Power Dynamos and how he was booed at stadia.

Below is the interview…

Interviewer: So great to see you and have a chance to chat with you. Here we are six months into this new adventure. So how have you found life in England and at Leicester so far?

Patson Daka: Thank you very much. So far I can say it’s been great. It’s been more than I expected it to be.

Because, you know, coming into a different environment, different culture, different people. I really didn’t know what to expect.

But I was kind of life comforted by the words that I was told by the manager and everyone from the club before I came here, and to be honest, when I came here, it was even more than what they told me.

I love it so far. It’s been a great few months that I’m looking forward to many more.

In 2016, Patson Daka went for 5 months without scoring a goal for Power Dynamos, then boom he hit an astonishing 12 goals in 12 games

Interviewer: Okay, so we’ll talk a lot about Leicester, but we’d love to learn more about you and, and how you got to this point.

So first of all, can you tell us about your your childhood in Zambia? And what kind of kid were you?

Patson Daka: A lot of people used to describe me as a shy person. But I don’t look at myself in that way, if i look back, I wasn’t a shy person,it is just who I am just a quiet guy and growing up I come from a Christian background.

I was raised by both my parents, and all my life I was just playing football, school, going to church and just spending time with my family.

That’s the only thing that I used to do. So I was kind of like predictable. If I’m not at the stadiums, then. I’m definitely at school.

If not then I’m at home or church. So that was just my kind of life routine.

In 2015, Daka featured for both the Zambia Under-17 and Under-20 African Cup of Nations tournaments in Niger and Senegal respectively.

A year later in 2016, he shared a dressing with BBC 2012 African Footballer of the Year Christopher Katongo at the CHAN Tournament.

Interview: So tell us about your very first memories of playing the game and falling in love with football.

Patson Daka: Well, the very first time I played football was with my late dad, Mhsrip. He introduced me to the beautiful game.

We were just playing together in the yard, you know, when I was a little kid, I didn’t even know what it was.

I was just having fun running around playing with him and so it just became part of me I started wanting to do more often and I used to go and watch him each and every day when he is training, when he is playing.

So the love just continued to grow stronger and stronger. And that’s how I just fell in love with the game.

For his exploits at Power Dynamos and leading the Zambia Cosafa U20 to the victory in South Africa, he was voted the Zambian Young of the Year and walked away with K15,000

Interviewer: And how much inspiration did your father give you to follow him into football and do his memory proud?

Patson Daka: Well, and one funny thing is like, he never used to force me to play football.

I just found myself like falling in love with it, because it was more like the only thing that I knew, So he was my greatest inspiration because he introduced me to it and watching him play, also how it used to bring people together, how he used to interact with his friends, and just the joy that he used to bring to the family.

It also inspired me and I was like well, I also want to be in this kind of position where I can bring joy to people, you know, bring people together and just inspire different kinds of people and just bring joy to my family as well.

Interviewer: Well you certainly have brought joy to your family because it’s been quite a journey for you. Can you tell us about the rising stars program in Zambia, and tell us about what that did for you when you were a young boy were you 13 or 14?

Patson Daka: Yeah, that tournament really played a big role in my life. We Went for a tournament, a school tournament. And from there there were some scouts who are doing the anti racist program.

And yeah, I was given a chance to play in that in less than 10 minutes they told me to wait for them to say, oh, we’ll talk to you after we finished and that’s how the journey began. And that’s how my life just changed.

Interviewer: Well, you certainly didn’t press and you did so well that you actually made the Zambian national squad, I think by age to 16. I mean that’s incredibly young. So what was that like?

A young Patson Daka with then Chipolopolo Boys assistant Irfan Kawri preparing for CHAN tournament around in January 2016 at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium

Patson Daka: To be honest, it was a tough challenge, because I didn’t see myself moving up so quickly.

And I was just so excited to be watching the big guys play and during that time to be honest, it was so intimidating. When they see like it was not really kind of common like more of a young player going to play with the big boys who have experience and all that, it was really challenging.

But you just have to be strong and just show you quality to stick the instructions that you have been given and that’s exactly what I was doing, I was just so happy and glad that I had that opportunity, I had that chance.

It really helped me to have a very strong foundation because it really was not easy, I had alot of difficulties, so many challenges.

But when I look back at those moments I am really thankful that they came at that stage, because right now I feel like nothing can break me because I have seen alot of it when I was very young in Zambia so yeah I feel it was a very strong foundation that I laid

Flashback: Daka with Musonda ‘Ba Muzo’ Chibulu. Zambia Under-20 star Patson Daka won three awards in the Power Dynamos awards Thursday night.

The 18-year-old bagged the most improved player (K4000), the top scorer (K4000) and the prestigious players’ player of the year (K4000).

Interview: Can you tell us some of those challenges Patson was it bad from, were you getting criticism from the people, from supporters?

Patson Daka: Yeah, to be honest I feel like I didn’t just get criticism from my family and my close friends, some like that, because the rest like the entire country they didn’t want me, they didn’t want to see me near the stadium

Interviewer: Wow!! Why?? Because of your performance?

Patson Daka: No! Like I said I was a young boy you know, so like for me it was like going on pitch doing the instructions what you have been told by the coaches oh you have to play like this.

I wasn’t scoring, I was having a drought, for me it wasn’t really a big deal.

I was just helping the team win and if I don’t score its okay, but they didn’t look at it like that, they were just concentrating on statistics, it was really difficult.

I was really having hard times to move around, like coming out of the house, like everywhere you go people will just be talking whatever they want, it was really hard but thankfully I just stayed grounded I continued believing in God.

I continued working hard because I knew no one would remove me from that position but myself.

Daka against Nkana in the Kitwe derby

Interviewer: Well you certainly did turn it around, your hard work you to have the chance to leave Zambia and go to Salzburg in Austria, at just 19 years old tell us how that came about and how easy was that decision for you to go?

Patson Daka: Before going to Austria I had a couple of trials in Europe at different clubs [Lille], it didn’t work and again criticism coming in, like the people managing this boy just want money they are rushing him and what not, but they really didn’t have the knowledge behind what we were doing.

Bringing me to Europe and trying get me an exposure of how things work out here so that I have an idea so that when I am ready to come here I know what to expect.

During that time I would come and go back to Zambia and people would talk and because it was clear to me, I knew what we were doing so I didn’t let those moments confuse me or bring me down.

I just concentrated on important things which was working on my craft and when the opportunity came to go to Austria it was the time when I was in Zimbabwe [2016] with the national team preparing for the African Cup Qualifying games.

So the night before flying out we were playing Cameroon the next day, we were going to Cameroon, I was told you are not going with the team you are heading the other direction and that’s how I had to go to Austria.

it was kind of crazy you know, I was in camp, in Africa its kind of like hot, I didn’t carry anything warm, I was in shorts and it was winter of 2016, I arrived and it was snowing and it was so damn cold and was my first time experiencing snow, lucky enough the person who came to pick me had an extra coat so he gave it to me atleast I had something to keep me warm and to survive cold.

Daka joined Power Dynamos after Lubambo had left for Armenia but the duo played first played together at Under-20 AFCON in Senegal in 2015.

Interviewer: Did have any idea it’be so cold? You were just in your flip flop of shorts

Patson Daka: Yeah! But I didn’t that I would come to Europe, it was never in the picture you know, so when I was coming I had no idea of how Austria was so I had to go to the internet and search. It was really crazy for me when I arrived there.

Daka formed a deadly partnership with Erling Halaand at Red Bull Salzburg

Interviewer: So new culture, new everything, tell us of those first few weeks, how hard was it Paston was there, home sickness, else you have to adapt to a new team tell us about that

Patson Daka: When I arrived I met the coach, liefering Coach – Thomas Liche, he welcomed me and asked me if I was ready to train that same day, I told him yes I will train.

I met up with some African guys most of them were Ghanaians and Malians, they kind of gave me tips because they were there for a long time.

They told me what the coach expects and what he likes and all that so when I was going into training I had a picture of what the coach is expecting from me. It was not about playing my game, but about how the coach wanted me to play.

I went there with the mindset, doing what my friends told me. I had 2 weeks trials and when I finished the coach told me he was happy with and would like me to stay like another week more so that he could observe me more.

I stayed another week and after that he was very open, he told me he likes me and would want me to come back but he would let the club and the my agents decided what next

What is missing on his CV is an appearance at the African Cup of Nations.

Interviewer: That must have been a huge confidence boost for you and obviously you joined the team and since made it into the team, 51 goals in you two leagues campaigns, 7 trophies won, goals In the champions league that could given you confidence that you could almost do anything you like in the game

The Premier League are yet to see the best of the Kafue native once dubbed as the next Kelvin ‘Malaza’ Mutale

Patson Daka: Yes, when I started it wasn’t really easy I just kept pushing because there’s a very big difference between African Football and going to play European football.

it was a very big challenge but I tried my best to adapt and when the goals started coming the confidence kept on growing.

Everything was just unfolding, anything you tried to do was working, I reached a point were I was not no longer trying to prove my self at the club and started enjoying Football and had a wonderful season which I will always remember.

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1 Comment

  1. Daka as a teenager was handled properly by the right guys in the game. I am not sure if Sabobo Banda will be given the chance to excell in the local league! together with Mukeya of Napsa. The two boys should be fast tracked to gain the necessary experience. The next U20 camp should include these two boys.

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