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ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 20 - KUSINI YENGI

ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 20 - KUSINI YENGI

Article by: Mitchell Grimes

Fri, Dec 09.22

ULTRA MAG | ISSUE 20 - KUSINI YENGI

Kusini Yengi is a name you’ll be hearing more and more in the next few years. Another talented youngster out of Adelaide, scoring the winner in a massive Sydney derby was just the beginning.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Kusini, fresh off one of the biggest moments in his career to date, to chat life at the Wanderers, twitch streaming & his overseas ambitions.

What's the vibe like at WSW at the moment? Do you guys feel like you’re building something special?

Yeah it’s been a great start to the season, we all work hard defensively, and we’re solid, I think that's been the key, I don’t love tracking back but it gets us results. It's been tough for me physically, I'm used to playing as a 9 but we’ve had a few injuries to the wide players so I'm out on the wing at the moment, it's a different type of running out wide, I'm not quite used to it yet.

Can you describe the Sydney Derby atmosphere? What was it like scoring the winner in such a big game?

The atmosphere in that game was crazy, from the moment we walked out to warm up It was electric. There was so many fans and they were all so loud and engaged in the game. The banners in the stands before kickoff and the ultras behind each goal just added to everything and made the atmosphere unbelievable.

I love games like this, when there’s a bit of rivalry and fans are getting rowdy. I just get this feeling like its my time to shine. I don’t need any extra motivation I just feed of the atmosphere and energy in the stadium.

I remember I had a couple chances to score earlier in the game but just missed so this time when Milos gave me the ball out wide I decided before I even got the ball I was going to force my way inside onto my right and smash it home.

When the ball hits the back of the net like that there’s no better feeling in the world especially in big games like these. You get a massive rush of adrenaline, I remember looking up and seeing a sea of red and black and just running towards them. It was an amazing moment that I’ll cherish for a long time. I had my younger brother and one of my best mates in the stands to witness it live as well which made the night even more special for me.



Did you know any of the lads before you joined?

Nah I didn’t know anyone, it's a great group though, very multicultural. Marko (Rudan) always talks about designing a multicultural team to represent the area. We have about 3 or 4 that speak French & then a lot of people from the Balkans, speaking Croatian etc and a few Lebanese lads it's a great mix.

Does the coach smash you in training?

Oh yeah, Pre-season was really tough, I’ve never done anything physically like that before. I still feel like my fitness is building, being match-fit is a completely different type of fitness.

What is your favourite away stadium to play at?

Hindmarsh is the best by far. I hate AAMI Park haha, the surface is so hard underneath & they water it so it feels like you’re on ice skates the whole time... there’s always stuff happening on it though, I think they had monster trucks on the field the other day before our game there.



Do you watch much football?

Yeah, I love watching Real Madrid, They are the only team I really watch. Cristiano is my favourite player and he made me fall in love with the club. I’ve always wanted to visit the Bernabeu, I almost did back in 2014 when I was in Spain although somehow my brother convinced our parents to go to the Nou Camp instead. So I got to watch Messi and Neymar play which was pretty cool.

Would you like to play over in Spain one day?

I wouldn't mind playing there but I think the Germany league would suit me a lot better I’ve got a mate over there now Alou Kuol, him and all the other Aussies boys Ive spoken to that have played there speak quite highly of the football & the lifestyle.

Is playing overseas one of you ambitions? 

Ideally, I would be playing overseas already, I’m patient though, getting injured last year was hard for me, I was out of contract too so it would have been a lot easier for a team to sign me. After I got injured though most of the clubs weren’t as interested, I still had some offers but I wasn't confident that they were the right step to make.

You’re so good with the ball at your feet for a big guy, is that something you’ve specifically worked on as a big centre-forward?

I actually used to be pretty short and weak so I had to learn how to be good with the ball from early. I was always a winger when I was younger, and I had a late growth spurt so that’s why I’m now a pretty big guy and still really good with the ball at my feet. My brother Tete is even taller than me, we’re similar players, he was a winger like me but as soon as you get taller coaches tend to throw you up front, he’s over in Finland now doing really well.



Do you live with teammates or by yourself?

I'm by myself. I like my own space and independents, I don’t want to have to worry about someone else, what we’re going to have for dinner and stuff like that, Mum taught me well in the kitchen, I cook all my own food, I try to be as professional as I can so I don’t really want to have the added responsibility of looking after someone else.

What are some things you like doing away from football?

I grew up near the beach back home so when I’m free or have a day of I always try to get down there. Being near the ocean is so relaxing and reminds me of home its calms me, I love the water and Sydneys great for that cause there’s so many amazing beaches everywhere. Although I leave out west here and there all a pretty far drive its definitely worth it.

I listen to a lot of music on my way to and from training, at the moment Im playing a lot of afrobeats and rap but I like a lot of different genres. There’s a guy called Rema who I’m really into at the moment, I’m always listening to lil baby, drake, skepta and a lot of the popular ones as well.

I watch twitch a lot actually, mainly streamers from the US; Adin Ross, Kai Cenat and Ishowspeed, now that Call of Duty is out I've been playing that all the time with friends from back home and sometimes the boys from team, I haven’t got the new Neymar skin though which looks cool.

What's the story behind the Avatar Instagram Profile Picture?

I loved that show, I must've watched it 3-4 times growing up, the movie is disgusting though they took us to see it when I was in after-school care, I hated it. The series is definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it.



How did you get into football?

Growing up I played so many different sports, I actually started playing football quite late, and I had a stepfather who came into my life who was Portuguese and for them football is everything, I started playing football at the same time he came into my life & I got good it at it very quickly, I started playing at a small club in Adelaide, Fulham United at U13’s & a year later I was in the state team & then a few years later I was in Adelaide United's youth team.
I went to Portugal with him and we went to some Benfica games together, pretty quickly my love for the game just kept growing.

Do you watch any other sports in your spare time?

I used to get to a lot of 36ers games in Adelaide, a friend of mine Jarod Walsh, the Adelaide United Stadium Presenter also presented for the 36ers and use to hook us up with free tickets so that was really cool, I try to keep up with the NBA but it’s hard there's so many games, I try watch the playoffs though there more exciting.

I also watch a bit of NFL, OBJ is my guy wherever he goes I usually support. I was living with James Delianov last year for a bit and he's a massive Arizona Cardinals fan so I would get up & watch games and highlights with him quite a bit.


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