Is Patson Daka the next big star being molded by FC Salzburg
Sadio Mané, Naby Laye Keïta, Erling Braut Håland. All three have made stops at FC Salzburg in Austria on the way to becoming stars. Mané and Keïta recently helped Liverpool lift their first top-flight title in thirty years and their first-ever Premier League title, while Håland is tearing things up at Borussia Dortmund and a bigger move seems on the horizon. For FC Salzburg though these players are a distant memory as they work on the next batch of stars that will ultimately leave Austria for bigger and better things.
Top of that list is young Zambian striker Patson Daka. After biding his time while Håland garnered all the headlines Daka has proven that his future is just as bright as the Norwegian’s, scoring at a staggering rate of 1.15 goals per 90 minutes played this season. Daka was inspired to play the game after watching his country’s unbelievable African Cup of Nations win in 2012 when they beat a star-studded Ivory Coast team on penalties in the final.
Picked up by FC Salzburg he was initially placed in their youth setup where he scored two goals in two games to help them win the UEFA Youth League in 2017, beating teams like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Barcelona on their way to the trophy. Daka, who had been scouted by FC Salzburg through the 12MANagement agency run by former player Frederic Kanoute, scored the winner against Barcelona in a 2-1 semi-finals victory and also scored the equalizer as the Austrian club came from behind to beat Benfica by the same scoreline in the final.
Daka has continued to flourish at FC Salzburg under American coach Jesse Marsch and his attacking philosophies, and will likely have eyes on him as he leads the line for FC Salzburg in the Champions League next season. The youngster has a contract until 2024 with the Austrian champions, but when footballing giants like AC Milan start sniffing around it will be a matter of when not if Daka moves on from his Austrian adventure.
He will also be hoping to immortalize himself in his home country by helping Zambia qualify for a first-ever World Cup. To do that they will have to beat out Tunisia, Mauritania, and Equatorial Guinea, but with Daka leading the line, anything is possible. Especially considering the young striker will be determined to join the players he idolized as a kid in becoming an idol himself.