These three are in it for the long term! Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu and Sekou Koita have all extended their deals with us until 2024. We spoke to all three in short interviews as they were in double festive mood with the new contracts and Christmas also to celebrate:
Our sporting director Christoph Freund says:
Patson, Enock and Sekou have all developed fantastically in their own way in recent months. They have made the leap from talents with potential to become top players who already have an important role in our team. We are very proud of their development in our system. With their contract extensions we have taken another important step and made a good investment for the future.
Enock, you have just signed your second contract with FC Red Bull Salzburg after joining us in 2017. How do you feel right now?
It feels like a great recognition from the club, above all for my development. I started in Liefering, and within 18 months I was able to play in the Champions League for the first time. I feel like I have developed into a real pillar for the team.
Less than two years ago you were playing with Patson for Kafue Celtics in Zambia. Had you ever thought at that stage that you could progress so far so quickly?
We had dreams, of course, but we could not have imagined that we would play for such a good club in the Champions League so soon. Everyone in Zambia wants to go and play in Europe in the limelight. This dream has become a reality for us. We feel really happy here. The city, the surroundings, the philosophy - everything is really great.
You took the opportunity to commit yourself to the club until 2024. That is a very important statement for the way your career develops from here …
Indeed. I have realised that I want to continue my process of development here and also help other young players in their development.
It sounds like you'd like to become a key player.
Yes, but it depends on how well I can develop. I believe that with the right amount of playing time I can grow into that role. I will give my all for it.
Jesse Marsch often calls you Patrick Vieira. Do you think that you can reach that level one day?
[Laughs]. I'm young, strong and tall, so like a young Patrick Vieira. Jesse always says I just have to toughen up my game a little, and then I'll be like him. I've thought about it, and yeah - I would like to be like Vieira!
Sekou, this is your second contract after joining Salzburg in 2018. What does it mean for you?
Really a lot! I've been very happy since I came here. The great faith the club places in young players has really helped me. It's exactly the right place for me and for my development. I am therefore very grateful to be able to stay here for the next few years.
You started playing for our cooperation club Liefering, then you went on loan to Wolfsberg AC, and this year you were nominated for AFCON Young Player of the Year. That is a very quick development. Do you see your new contract as recognition for this?
I am very proud of my development. The nomination was a great recognition for me, and the contract is too. This is just the start still though. I haven't achieved anything yet. There is a lot of work ahead for me here in Salzburg.
Why do you think that FC Red Bull Salzburg is the right club for your further development?
It is possibly the best place for young players to develop. You can see that with all the big names who have gone from here to play all around Europe. It's therefore the place for me too.
You've signed till 2024. What are you planning to achieve in the years ahead?
I would like to win everything I can with Salzburg - the Austrian Bundesliga, cup and I also want to be in the Champions League again and again. Personally I want to become better and more efficient, score more goals and provide more assists.
Patson, you signed a new contract until 2024. What are your thoughts about that?
It is a really great privilege for me. It shows me that the club believes in me. This also gives me the belief that I can repay this faith with lots of goals and assists.
It feels like a bit of a fairy tale that you are here after playing in Zambia two years ago.
I have worked hard for it and prayed for it. It nonetheless has all come as a surprise to me, as I didn't expect it - especially not this fast. That makes it even better that I can continue in Salzburg.
The club is pleased with you, and you are thanking them with goal after goal this season. Where can this take you?
I still have a lot of things I'd like to work on. It's all going in the right direction though. I am in a position now in which I can help the team at any time. I would like to continue with this in the future.
Your speed gives you a great asset in that regard. How did you get so fast?
[Laughs] It's not something I ever totally focused on. I've just always been incredibly fast. It must be a gift from God or something in my genes.