Friday Jul 02, 2021. 10:00
Ex-Chipolopolo Zambia coach Patrice Beaumelle says it a huge privilege to see a player he had given a debut Chipolopolo call-up make it in the big-time following Patson Daka’s move to English Premiership side Leicester City.
The Cote d’Ivoire coach handed a then unknown teenager a debut call-up in November, 2013 as Chipolopolo prepared for the 2013 CECAFA Cup outing in Kenya in the first of over three summons under the Frenchman who had taken over from his former boss Herve Renard.
Daka on June 30 completed a UK £23 million five-year deal to the 2015/2016 English Premiership winners from Austrian champions RB Salzburg.
“First of all I would like to congratulate Patson and his family for his new move to Leicester in the UK,” Beaumelle told AF in an exclusive interview from France.
“If I remember well around 2012/2013 after we won the AFCON, we met him in a player dictation I took him to the national team camp to see how he would handle himself against international level players and today I am glad to have been the first coach in 2013 to put him in the Chipolopolo.
“I do remember we met Patson when he was still a schoolboy by that time. I met a boy who was very dedicated, very motivated with a very good commitment and with good qualities as a forward.”
Daka is a product of the Airtel Rising Stars project that also unearthed his ex-RB Salzburg club mate Enock Mwepu including his 2017 AFCON U20 winning colleagues Musonda Siame and Prosper Chiluya.
The quartet was part of the Junior Chipolopolo team that made history earlier on in 2015 when they became the first Zambia team to qualify for AFCON U17 together with their late colleague Changwe Kalale.
“Since that meeting, he kept on improving his football every season as a player .I am very proud of that because I saw in his eyes that he had the hunger to become a very good footballer and a very good professional,” Beaumelle said.
“Today we have this privilege and I am very proud for him together with all of Zambia.
“I remember as well we took him to Lille in France in 2015 in his first steps into Europe and from then on every year all of Europe started talking about Patson Daka’s potential as a very good striker.”
Beaumelle believes things can only get better for Daka with the English Premiership move following a successful last four years at RB Salzburg where 27 out of his 34 competitive goals in the 2020/2021 season helped them retain the Austrian Bundesliga title for an eighth successive time.
“He has all the qualities and the potential today to become one of the best strikers in Europe and it is not by fluke that he has signed with Leicester who are a very good club and with a very good coach,” Beaumelle said.
“When you sign with this kind of club, it is to deliver and to try to win trophies and I will also be following his progress every week.
“What can I say about his personality? What I like about Patson Daka is he is the kind of boy with every training session he keeps on smiling and he wants to improve his football every day. I remember he was always listening and trying to learn.
“And today, I am very happy for him and Zambia and I am sure with his move Chipolopolo back to the highest level in Africa.
“Congratulations again because he received a fantastic education because in my point of view you cannot be a good player without a good education.
“To Patson, keep on smiling and keep on enjoying your football. It is a good window for Zambian players.
“I am just very glad as well to have been the first coach to give Patson the possibility to show his potential with the national team.”