Zambian striker Patson Daka’s move to Leicester City is a major step for Southern African football, says veteran Chipolopolo star Jacob Mulenga.
Daka (22) moved to the English Premier League side from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg this off-seasonweek, signing a five-year contract with the 2016 Premier League champions.
“It’s a very good move for him,” Mulenga said. “From Red Bull going all the way straight to the Premier League – usually you’d think there’s another step in between but he’s worked hard. He’s earned it.”
Mulenga, who has just helped Go Ahead Eagles to promotion to the Dutch top flight, believes the move is significant for both Zambia and Southern Africa as a whole.
“It’s a very big thing for Africa in general but specifically for southern Africa,” Mulenga told BBC Sport Africa.
“The (African players) you get in the Premier League are mainly from West or North Africa. Southern Africa is a not-so-known place for talent. The talent is there but not many manage to go into Europe and make it big, so what he’s done is very big for all the kids in southern Africa.”
Daka scored 27 goals in 28 appearances last season to help Red Bull Salzburg win their fourth successive Austrian league title.
At Leicester, he will be playing alongside Jamie Vardy and Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho, a duo he is likely to compete with for playing time.
“Obviously it will be different playing in the Premier League,” said Mulenga, who believes the King Power Stadium provides a terrific platform.
“When you have players like Vardy in front of you, a world-known striker who has so much experience, the best thing you can do is go in and learn. You play your role and learn from the guys who are there – let the older guys take you under their wings and teach you.”
Daka’s fellow forward has every confidence the youngster will be a success at his new club.
“He’s a goal-scorer, he’s got pace, good anticipation and he’s getting better and better. And let’s not forget he’s very young, so there’s a lot of room for him. I think everything will turn out well for him.” – BBC Sport Africa