Friday Jun 18, 2021. 13:13
Napsa Stars may be battling relegation right now but one of their shining lights in the midst of their troubles this season has been the promising teenage striker and 2019 COSAFA U20 Cup winner Jimmy Mukeya.
Mukeya also featured prominently in Napsa’s CAF Confederation Cup group stage debut this season when they became first Zambian club to qualify to the league phase on the first attempt.
Africanfootball caught up with the young prospect who has so far scored nine competitive goals in his second season with the Lusaka club to briefly talk about his journey so far.
AF: Very briefly tell us about yourself, who is Jimmy Mukeya?
JIMMY MUKEYA: I was raised in Mandevu Township in Lusaka, I come from a family of four and I am the first born. I went to Munali Boys School in Lusaka and that is where I graduated from. Briefly, my passion for football started at a football academy called Kens Academy.
AF: You had a memorable COSAFA U20 in 2019 as a gold medal winner on home soil, how was that tournament experience?
JM: That was a big experience for me in that it was my first national team call-up and I felt very excited to be part of the team. Moreover, we won the tournament and that was my first biggest achievement of my football life and not to forget scoring a brace in my first appearance in the 5-0 win over Botswana. Those goals were also my first-ever brace in an international game.
AF: Two years down the line, you are a Napsa Stars first team starter, how has the process and progress come along in the league?
JM: It has been OK but somehow tough because of the situation we are currently passing through right now is not a very nice situation. But with the experience I am getting in the FAZ Premier League, it is a good platform for me. Moreover I also score goals for the team so it is an achievement for me too.
AF: You also enjoyed a notably good run on the continental front in the CAF Confederation Cup where you scored a goal.
JM: I feel very happy about that because continental football is a very big club tournament. It is like the UEFA of Africa, so when you play at that level, it means you have to perform at your level best. I played most of the games and gained a lot of experience from that and scoring again at that level is a plus for me.
AF: What impact have senior players in your team like 2012 AFCON winner Emmanuel Mayuka made for you since you broke into the Napsa Stars first team?
JM: It feels very nice playing and training with experienced players like Mayuka because he is a very good person even when he is on the bench and I have started a game, he gives me advice on my movements and that motivates me. When I score he is also happy and he really encourages me and builds my confidence
AF: What was the hardest game you have played to date?
JM: Well, I have played a lot of the games in the league this season, maybe, I can say the Nkana. We lost that game 4-1.
AF: What is your most memorable game?
JM: My most memorable game was the one against Indeni. We won the match 4-3. I scored a brace and had two assistants.
AF: You have eight league goals so far, what is your target in the remaining games?
JM: When I started to play in the Premier League my was targeted to be one of the best young scorers in the league. But for now, I will just keep playing my lungs out and see where I will finish on the scorers chart.
AF: And finally, how are you coping with the relegation race?
JM: When it comes to that issue, I never expected to pass this stage of fighting relegation and losing a lot of games, it has really been tough.