In the past five years Zambia has produced what most have termed the ‘Golden generation’ of the country’s football with the rise of a group of talented footballers.
In 2017 Zambia were crowned the U-20 African champions after an impressive tournament on home soil with names like Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu, Fashion Sakala, Edward Chilufya and Emmanual Banda a few of the names that can be noted from that squad.
FARPost caught up with Djurgadens IF midfielder Emmanual Banda to find out how the journey has been since transitioning from Zambian football into the European market and their 2017 U-20 AFCON triumph.
Banda feels that the 2017 U-20 group was the best group of players and he is very happy to have been part of that. ” It was an amazing experience for me as an individual and even nicer winning the tournament with that amazing group we had. We were solid and knew what we wanted – it was nice being part of such a team that made history in our country,” said Banda.
A lot of African footballers struggle to adapt quickly in Europe and the journey can be difficult. Banda feels he has had a journey with mixed emotions. “So far my journey has not been easy like any other journey – it’s never an easy road. I have had my fair share of happiness and a lot of sadness mostly towards the end of last year, but I managed to overcome that and made a move to a team which is welcoming which helped me as I managed to get my form back. So yeah the road has been hard and not smooth, but that’s what makes life interesting,” explained the midfielder.
Scandinavia is seen as a part of Europe where most footballers start their careers as they look to go into Europe’s bigger leagues. Banda feels it is a good level.
“The Swedish league is nice, I love it because it’s an amazing league to play your game and enjoy football at the same time. So far I have had a great time being here and working hard to enjoy the place more,” Banda told this publication.
He added: “Moving from Africa at an early age was a good move for me because it helped me adapt to Europe and its style play. I learnt some things here and there which helped me to know how to handle pressure at a young age.”
Banda has played seven games from the 19 games that have been played so far this season scoring a goal and assisting another one as Djurgadens sit 5th on the log with 31 points. Their next league game is against Ostersund on the 20th of September while they face Gibraltar club Europa FC in the second round of the UEFA Europa League qualifiers on the 17th of September.
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By Prince Sobayeni