Elvis Kamsoba has endured hardship in the past, but lives life with a smile on his face and now he dreams of representing Australia one day.
Deng also remembers playing against Kamsoba in the African Nations Cup in Adelaide at Burton Park Football Centre.
“I’ve known Elvis for a few years now, we go way back to the Adelaide days playing against each other in epic African tournaments,” he said.
“I’ve always known him to be a very good player who’s energetic and a top guy.
“He’s a very easy-going guy, he never complains about everything and always willing to work hard for the team.”
Kamsoba is enjoying the journey with Victory and his next goal was to cement a starting spot in Kevin Muscat’s team.
He recalls making his debut in Victory’s 2-0 loss to the Reds in early January as a surreal feeling.
“It was an awesome feeling, but on the same day, I lost my grandma, so I was hoping I’d get a goal for her and also that we’d win,” Kamsoba said.
“It didn’t happen, but that’s life, so I was happy for my debut, but sad for my grandma. It was a dream come true playing in front of my family and friends who I grew up with, it was something really special to me.
“It’s like a dream come true. Coming from Africa, I didn’t expect to be here right now and as I was growing up here. I was getting told I had a chance to make it professionally.
“It’s something I just put everything towards. I was obviously at school as well, but my aim was to make it as a professional footballer, whether it’s here or outside the country.
“I knew Dengy earlier, back in Adelaide. Coming to Melbourne and Tommy is in the team and so is Kenny, they’re like my brothers.
“When I arrived, it made me feel more comfortable, if I make a mistake, they back me up and it’s a great thing for them to be at the club.”
Kamsoba’s teenage brother, Pacifique Niyongabire, also plays for Adelaide United. The man who proudly wears the number 24 jersey added he was settling in well at Victory after a successful season at Avondale FC.
“The A-League is a step up, the philosophy, the grounds and the players are better, so everything is better,” Kamsoba added.
“My (small) size can present different challenges, but when I have the ball at my feet. I have no problems, I’m running. I’ve been working on my strength in the gym.
“I feel like I can thrive as a small player on the pitch. I’ve been throwing it around since I was born. You have to work and that’s why I’m here.”