Last month, the country of Zambia rejoiced as Leicester City’s Patson Daka became the first player from the country to ever score a Premier League goal when he netted for the Foxes against Manchester United.
Only five days later, the 23-year-old was back amongst the goals when he bagged four goals for Leicester in their Europa League triumph over Spartak Moscow.
For Daka, the bright lights of Europe’s top competitions are a far cry from the humble surroundings of his first club, Zambian outfit Kafue Celtic.
As the striker returns to his home nation to compete in a pair of World Cup qualifiers, the Daily Mail caught up with Lee Kawanu – director of Kafue Celtic – to learn more about a man who is now considered a national treasure in Zambia.
“The whole country was united in excitement. You could feel it everywhere,” said Kawanu of Daka’s goal against the Red Devils.
“Everybody was talking about it, including the president,” he explained, referring to a tweet that Daka received from the country’s leader Hakainde Hichilema.
For all of his success, though, Daka has never forgotten his roots.
Perhaps not surprisingly for a player who used to give his £25 weekly salary while playing in the Zambian Super League directly to his mother, Daka has a strong sense of both family and community.
Whenever he returns to Zambia on international duty, Daka makes sure to stop in at his former club – even paying a win bonus to its players on his last visit.
“Luckily we won!” Kawanu said of the bonuses. “None of us expected it. He does stuff like that. He has helped with training kits and football boots.”
Family, though, has always come first for Daka, with Kawanu revealing the lengths that Daka has gone to look after his mother and older sister – following the death of his father when he was just 12 years of age.
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“He has been looking after his mother and older sister,’ shared Kawanu. ‘He started on a small salary and eventually he got a bit more money.
“While he was still here, he managed to build a flat for his mother. He was investing every penny he got for the family. He is a good boy.”
Daka’s earnings naturally increased as soon as he left Zambia, first linking up with FC Liefering – the feeder club to RB Salzburg in the Austrian top-flight.
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Within a year, aged just 20, Daka had made a £225,000 move to Salzburg. The deal was brokered by former Mali international Frederic Kanoute, who represented both West Ham and Tottenham in his own career.
Kanoute ensured that Kafue Celtic would receive a sizeable slice of any future transfer as part of the deal, something that the club was very thankful for when Leicester signed Daka for a whopping £23 million in June of this year.
“We were a small team run from my personal pocket,” said Kawanu of the impact of the windfall the club received when Daka made his move to the East Midlands.
“We are now in the Super League, competing with the ‘big guys’, and we can meet our budget,” he stated.
Zambia have no real prospect of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Qatar, but Daka is still treated like a hero whenever he returns home.
The Leicester man gave fans reason to cheer when he opened the scoring in Zambia’s 4-0 home win over Mauritana on Saturday. The nation will hope that Daka is able to continue to find the net on a regular basis for both Zambia and Leicester in the years to come.
Given his unlikely rise to success, it is tough not to be pleased for the young frontman.