Yengi expects promotion 'positivity' to flow through camp before Bangladesh qualifier

Subway Socceroos forward Kusini Yengi enters June’s qualifiers having secured a first career promotion with Portsmouth FC, an achievement he hopes will convert to greater things at club and national team level.

READ MORE: Arzani hoping to continue strong form with Socceroos return 
READ MORE: Talking Points of June squad announcement  

The Socceroos may be based in the party capital of South-East Asia, Bangkok leading up to their clash against Bangladesh, but 25-year-old Kusini Yengi resides in a seaside town which has been celebrating for weeks, having witnessed their local football team Portsmouth FC clinch League One promotion, with Yengi at the wheel.

A first piece of silverware caps off a remarkable opening 12 months of European football for the South Australian, having scored a personal-high 13 goals for his club along with a Socceroos debut appearance and goal. Yengi reflects on his success while also acknowledging the efforts of his Australian teammates.

“[Promotion] was really special, something I hadn’t experience, so I’m definitely going to remember those scenes and those moments for the rest of my career, hopefully there’s many more to come.”

“Yeah, not only me, there’s quite a few other boys that experienced similar situations this season, which is amazing.”

I’m sure we’re going to use that experience and that joy coming into camp to create positive vibes and hopefully help us win these next two games.

Having watched Socceroos teammates Cameron Burgess and Massimo Luongo continue their rise from League One promotion to Championship promotion, Yengi is confident his side can follow suit.

However, the Pompey star is aware of the improvements needed to compete in the English second division.

“Every time you step up a level, whether it’s to the national team or to a higher league, you play with players that are a better caliber. The game is a lot quicker, people’s first touch are a lot cleaner.”

Kusini Yengi celebrates following promotion (Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

“So you have to step up that level and then if you don’t you get punished. That’s been the consistent theme I’ve heard a lot is if you lose the ball, teams will punish you a lot quicker than they might do in the lower leagues.”

“So I’m looking forward to that challenge. And I can’t wait to start preseason with Portsmouth, start the season and see how we go.”

Having only recently made his international debut, back in November against Bangladesh in Melbourne, Yengi understands the challenges faced by the newest additions to Graham Arnold’s squad for the June qualifiers, several of them playing in the same positions as the forward.

The Adelaide boy reflects on his Subway Socceroos journey and what helped him settle during those first national team camps.

“I think I was confident that first camp I came into, the only thing that’s probably a bit different is I’ve got a bit more experienced and I kind of understand how life is in camp and I know the staff and the players a bit more than I did on my first.”

“In my first camp, [Jamie] Maclaren was quite helpful to me, he’s someone that I had played against in the A-League a few times, we’ve also spoken after games and he’s still given me advice.”

So when I came into camp, he was a face and a person that I’d spoken to before, which was really great.

“Throughout the Asian Cup, [Mitchell Duke] has been someone that I’ve gravitated towards quite a bit. He’s been involved in the Socceroos for such a long time and scored so many goals at World Cups, so he’s given me a lot of advice and helped me feel at ease here in the camp.”

Mitchell Duke and Kusini Yengi celebrate together (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Subway Socceroos travel to Dhaka for their FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Bangladesh on Thursday night (8:45pm AEST) with a chance at securing top-spot in Group I.

Yengi is aware that the away leg against Bangladesh will be very different to the 5-0 victory in Melbourne just over 6 months ago.

“It’s going to be a bit more of a difficult game compared to the first one. The conditions obviously, quite different for a number of players coming in to camp here. Also the weather conditions, we have no idea what the pitch is going to be like, and they’re up for the fight.”

So we’re going to have to be at our best to win this game, hopefully we will dominate and score a lot of goals like last time.

“I think once you get the first goal, you know, you’re always hungry for more. Whenever the squad is announced and I see my name there, I want to bring the ‘1 goal’ tally up a bit more. I’m looking forward to coming into future squads and seeing 6-8 more goals.”

Match Details

Bangladesh v Subway Socceroos
Thursday, 6 June
Bashundhara Kings Arena, Dhaka
Kick-off: 4.45pm local / 8.45pm AEST
Broadcast: Paramount+

Subway Socceroos v Palestine
Tuesday, 11 June 2024
HBF Park, Perth
Kick-off: 8.05pm AWST / 10.05pm AEST
Tickets: Start from $15 Child, $20 Concession, $25 Adult, and $50 Family. Tickets from Ticketmaster.
Broadcast: 10, 10 Play, Paramount+

Source link: Yengi expects promotion 'positivity' to flow through camp before Bangladesh qualifier