The history of Zambian players in England

The weekend left debates among Zambians following Leicester city striker Patson Daka’s debut premier league goal which has been widely recognized as Zambia’s first goal in the English top flight league.

BUT WHO WAS THE FIRST ZAMBIAN TO PLAY IN ENGLAND ?

The first Zambian players to play in England were Freddie Mwila and Emment Kapengwe who were signed by Aston villa fc after impressing in the United States at Atalanta chiefs fc.

Mwila caught the eye of Aston villa after he scored three goals for Atlanta chiefs against Manchester city in two consecutive friendly matches.

Kapengwe played just three games in claret and blue and Mwila only one as Villa were relegated to Division 3 for the first time. Both returned to Zambia at the end of the 1969/70 season, nine months after arriving in England.

The two never played in the English top flight league as they only featured for Aston villa in the lower tier.

WHO THEN WAS THE FIRST ZAMBIAN TO PLAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

NIEL Gregory who was born in Ndola city on the Copperbelt province of Zambia in 1972 from English parents is recognized as the first Zambian to play in the premier league.

Gregory is the first player with Zambian descent to play in the English Top flight league with Ipswich city in 1991/1990 season.

Gregory in action against Sunderland.

He made three appearances for Ipswich city and never scored or assisted in the Premier league.

Collins Mbesuma during his debut appearance

On 12th July, 2005 then Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin was spotted a young Collins Mbesuma who was in his prime in the south African league banging goals week in week out. He signed him for a three-year deal but did not join the English immediately following work permit issues due to low ranking of the Zambia National Soccer Team until late into pre-season.

Mbesuma only made four appearances , all coming from the bench as he never started a match for Portsmouth in the 2005–06 season premier league.

Mbesuma is however, the first Zambian to play in the English premier league since the country got her independence in 1964 .

Emmanuel Mayuka in action for Southampton in the premier league

Emmanuel Mayuka was the third Zambian to play in the premier league after he joined Southampton in 2012 following his brilliant performance at the 2012 African cup of Nations.

Mayuka made 16 appearances for Southampton but never scored all assisted in any of the matches and only two non-competitive goals for the club.

On 30 July 2015, manager Ronald Koeman confirmed that Mayuka ‘had no future at Southampton’, and he was removed from the first-team, having failed to score in any of his 16 league appearances for Southampton.

Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu

After over a decade, Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu became the fourth and firth Zambian players to play in the Premier league.

Mwepu and Daka made their debuts this season after they were both signed from Red Bull Salzburg by Brighton and Hove Albion fc and Leicester city fc.

Patson Daka celebrates after scoring against Manchester united fc.

With Daka’s goal against Manchester united fc on Saturday when Leicester city thrashed united 4-2 at the king power , he became the first Zambian to score in the premier league.

Published by Calvin Kaumba Chikenge

I am a journalist. passionate about culture , sports and developmental story writing.

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