Zambia's Jacob Mulenga wants Premier League move

By John BennettBBC World Service Sport
Zambia striker eyes England move

Zambia striker Jacob Mulenga says he is close to securing a dream move to the English Premier League, following fine form and fatherly advice.

The 28 year-old is currently top scorer for Utrecht in the Dutch Eredivisie.

"For most Zambians, their ambition is to play in England because obviously it's the best league in the world," Mulenga said.

"Hopefully as soon as everything is sorted with my agents and everyone, I'll be able to move."

Mulenga is set to be a key player at the Africa Cup of Nations, as Zambia try to defend the title they won in February.

But it was a conversation he had with his dying father earlier this year which turned his head toward England.

"My father is a big inspiration," Mulenga told BBC Sport.

"I spoke to him before he died and he was like, 'OK, now you're playing well, it's time you move. Just wait for it because now you have everything. You understand things and you're ready to move and you will move'.

"That's what has happened this season. I'm playing well. I'm scoring goals that I never even thought I could score - just crazy goals - and things are going really, really well."

In August, another Zambian striker, Emmanuel Mayuka, joined the Premier League side Southampton.

And the Chipolopolo defender Stophilla Sunzu is also being linked with a move to England.

Mulenga believes Mayuka will be the first of many Zambian players to sign for English clubs, as a result of winning the Nations Cup.

He said: "With us winning the Africa Cup, there's a complete shift of power in Africa, with more eyes to Southern Africa which is a really good thing.

"Now we'll get more and more players moving to Europe."

Mulenga missed out on Zambia's win at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations because of a knee injury, so is now desperate to make up for that disappointment when the 2013 edition starts in South Africa next month.

"There's a lot of focus on Zambia and what they're going to do now," Mulenga said.

"And there's a buzz about the national team, because of what they did last time, and Chris Katongo winning the BBC African Footballer of the Year award.

"The (Afcon) tournament means quite a lot to me. Last time we won it but there were so many mixed emotions.

"You're really happy but you have a really sad feeling as well because you know - if you weren't injured - you would have been part of the team and able to help out."