He only joined the squad on January 3, but Melbourne Victory’s Elvis Kamsoba has quickly won a place in both Kevin Muscat’s squad and, tellingly, the fans’ hearts and minds.
Small in stature, the tricky and pacey Kamsoba plays his football with a thousand-watt smile and further enhanced his growing reputation with another excellent showing on Sunday evening.
Kamsoba started the match – his seventh appearance since making his debut against Adelaide on January 9 – on the left of midfield, operating near the touchline in support of striker Kenny Athiu and was a constant threat throughout.
Despite the disappointing result, he was pragmatic post-match - looking to take the positives out of both his and the team’s performance.
“There’s always learning in every game.
“We made a few mistakes that cost us – and the penalty let us down – but we showed we could play good football.
“We got ourselves a goal to get back into the match and if it goes five more minutes maybe we get another one.”
It’s been a whirlwind few months for the 22-year-old, who trained with his new teammates late in the year in an effort to win his first professional contract, ultimately signing on the dotted line when the transfer window opened.
“I’m enjoying it. It’s good – a good environment and Club to be in.
“Being a part of the squad for two months prior to signing was good, it helped me a lot. The coach was always telling me I had to sharpen up and be ready for January.
“So being with the team, training with them every day prepared me to perform when the opportunity came my way.
“It took a little bit of time to adjust [to professional football]. I’d been playing NPL, where you go to work during the day, then train at night.
“Now I can come in every day ready and refreshed to train and improve. With each week I’ve adapted better and better.”
Sunday afternoon was a special occasion for the winger, who walks away having played alongside the biggest name and in front of the biggest crowd of his young career, and embraces the opportunity for more.
“It was good to play with Keisuke on the right hand side in the second half, he’s a very good player.
“His movement, his strength, he knows the game so well… I was learning things from him and look forward to the next opportunity to learn more. Hopefully he can make me a better player.
“The crowd was amazing. When we were down they pepped us up and you could see the team react. That helps a lot; to look up and think, ‘ok, you’ve got to lift for the crowd.
“As a player, if you get the ball and the crowd expects something from you it’s special, it’s something I like. It makes me want to be creative and drive the team forward.”