UNITED STATES based striker Lucky Nkosana did not set the Warriors camp alight and his inclusion in the team that is in Congo Brazzaville was a major surprise.
One can say that the 30-year-old Mkosana is lucky to be in the national team set up. But while his performances during the three-day camp were not that convincing, the striker, who has 10 goals in 21 games for second tier side Penn FC, comes in with an interesting resume.
An Aces Youth Soccer Academy student and a beneficiary of Methembe Ndlovu’s strong contact base in the United States, Mkosana has shared dressing rooms with some of the world’s most famous football players.
He played with Spanish legend Raul and retired Brazilian pass master Marcos Senna at New York Cosmos in 2015 where the great Pele, who is the club’s ambassador, would occasionally attend the dressing room team talks.
Croatia’s 2006 World Cup player and former Tottenham midfielder Niko Kranjcar was also Mkosana’s teammate at Cosmos in 2016.
“I learnt a lot from Raul, he was 38 when we played together at New York Cosmos and his vast knowledge of the game is still invaluable, even up to this day,” said the Warriors forward.
“We would go to his house for some barbecue and he would give us some life time football tips. I am still in contact with Raul and I still apply most of what he taught me.” The Plumtree born striker went to the United States 12 years ago, after securing a scholarship to study International Development with Dartmouth College.
He acquired a Masters in Sports Management through Real Madrid’s online graduate school.
“After finishing school at Umzingwane, I had a stint at Aces Youth Academy, right about the time the likes of Khama (Billiat) and Knowledge Musona were also coming up. “I also trained with Highlanders’ Under 18 team through Methembe (Ndlovu) and that is when I impressed some United States coaches who came to search for talent in Bulawayo. That’s how I ended up getting a scholarship,” said Mkosana, who turns 31 on September 30.
One thing that shocked Mkosana when he attended his first ever Warriors session last Tuesday was the array of talent on show at the National Sports.
“We have got serious talent man and I was blown away when I took part in my first training sessions…everyone looked hungry, everyone worked hard and it was all looking good,” he said.
Mkosana was deployed as a second striker during the Warriors auditions and is now poised to make his Warriors debut in Congo this afternoon, most likely from the bench. “If I am given a chance to play for the Warriors, I will push for the national cause, which is qualifying for the 2019 Nations Cup finals,” Mkosana said.
Zimbabwe travelled to Congo for only the second time since 1980.
Coincidentally, the last time Zimbabwe played Congo in an AFCON qualifier in Brazzaville was also in September of 1990 when the Warriors lost 0-2.
The return leg ended 2-2 at National Sports on July 14, 1991.
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