It's a dream come true: Mkosana

HARARE – Lucky Mkosana thought his dream of playing international football for Zimbabwe was never going to materialise but life is full of surprises.

The United States-based forward received a surprise call-up in the provisional squad announced by Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa last month for today’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group G qualifier against Congo in Brazzaville.

The icing on the cake for the Aces Youth Soccer Academy (Aysa) graduate is the fact that he also made the final 18 match day squad that left Harare for Brazzavile on Friday afternoon.

Mkosana, who turns 31 later this month, is now set to make his Warriors debut this afternoon if Chidzambwa selects him to do duty at the Stade Alphonse Massamba Debat against the Red Devils.

His call up to the Warriors came at the back of some good form for his Penn FC side where he has scored seven goals in five games in the US League Eastern Conference which is the second tier after the Major Soccer League.

Mkosana was evidently delighted by the fact he is now in line to launch his international career after having thought the chance would never arrive.

“I’m really happy. A first call up for me and it means a lot. I have been working hard the past few years and to finally get recognised and come and represent the country,” Mkosana told the Daily News on Sunday. 

“I wasn’t really expecting this to happen so soon because I only started talking to the coaches two or three weeks ago.

“I have been in touch with the manager since last year, I guess and I’m really thankful to the coach and the rest of the team for putting their trust in me.

“It was my dream as a kid to get the call up and now I’ve got the call up it is unbelievable. It’s something that I always wanted growing up and I feel like, and my parents too I think, that they are really, really proud for this call up because I know my dad has been hoping that one day it would happen.”

Mkosana, who had stints with Chicago Fire, Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Cosmos, is hoping this is the beginning of big things to come in his career.

“It is a huge boost for me as a player and for my career so I will take great confidence from that going forward,” he said.

“It is great that people are recognising your hard work and what you try to do for the team and the fans but it is something I honestly didn’t expect.”

Mkosana left the country as a fresh-faced teenager in 2007 after he received a scholarship to study in the United States while he was at Aysa.

Zimbabweans are not really keen on following the progress of the US game and when the squad was announced last month, a few eyebrows were raised because of Mkosana’s inclusion.

However, the Penn FC forward is confident of his football abilities having honed his skills at a famed academy like Aysa which has produced a number of talented Zimbabwean football stars.   

“I did my high school at Mzingwane then I went to the Aysa with Knowledge (Musona) and Khama (Billiat) and after that I got the scholarship to go to the US to pursue a degree in International and Development Studies and play at the same time,” Mkosana said.

“I got my degree and after that, I have been playing professional. For me it is about developing every day and I feel I am improving every day. I’m at a great club and hopefully we can have success together.”

On the Warriors’ prospects against the Red Devils today, Mkosana said they are not expecting an easy match in Brazzaville.

“It’s going to be a tough game but I’m sure the guys all know what is at stake and coming up with a win from there will put us in a good position. So I feel like everyone is ready,” he said.

“I always do my best, I always give my all and I wouldn’t want to disappoint.”

Another win for the Warriors today will cement their position at the top of Group G before they have to play back-to-back matches against the Democratic Republic of the Congo next month.

The top two teams from the group will advance to the 2019 Afcon finals set for Cameroon.

Chidzambwa’s charges currently sit top of Group G with three points following the impressive 3-0 win over Liberia in the opening match of the group last year.

Belgium-based striker and captain Musona scored all the three goals that afternoon at the National Sports Stadium when FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza was in interim charge of the national side.

The Democratic Republic of Congo are in second place in the group also on three points but trail the Warriors on goal difference after their opening victory over Congo.