Focus on Dons in FA Youth Cup
Young forwards Dan Agyei and Egli Kaja are aiming to reward the club for providing them with a chance to make it as professional footballers by firing AFC Wimbledon into the FA Youth Cup fourth round.
Our Under-18s are in the FA Youth Cup third round for the first time since the rebirth of AFC Wimbledon and they host Burnley next Thursday (7.00 pm start at the Cherry Red Records Stadium).
Dan will be leading the charge as he’s already scored 21 goals this season and his best so far against Milton Keynes earned him a nomination for a national academy competition.
Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Dan (pictured right with Egli during a recent tour of Wembley) said: “I joined this club as an Under-15 from Sheen Lions and I also previously played for Epsom Eagles. I had a one year spell with Reading FC, which ended due to breaking my ankle. Things did not go well for me after that. I’ve enjoyed it since I’ve been here. I want to score more goals at Under-18 level and take any opportunities I get for the Under-21s as quickly as possible. Then maybe I can start looking towards the first-team.
“We have to be more focused on ourselves next Thursday. If we play to our level then there will only be one outcome. Playing in front of a crowd is what you want and it would be good if people come down to see what we’re about. It would be great to progress.”
Egli, who was born in Albania, had a very promising 2013/14 season that ended with helping the Dons to victory in the London Senior Cup Final, but his campaign has been interrupted by an ankle injury this time around. However, Egli’s been back among the goals recently with a hat-trick in the first round win at Fakenham Town – and he’s grateful to AFC Wimbledon for showing faith in his ability.
“Mark Robinson (Under-18s manager), Nigel Higgs (former Youth and Community Football Director), and Jeremy Sauer (Academy Manager) have helped us in our careers so far,” said Egli. “We want to do it for them and for the club. Burnley will be very strong because they are a Premier League club’s academy, but we definitely have a chance. The lads have been training really well recently and we are all up for it. Hopefully, we can give them a good game.
“I played for Middlesbrough’s academy, but my family decided to move to London so I had to leave, which was unfortunate for me at the time. But I’ve been here since Under-12s and it’s turned out to be a positive for me. It's a great opportunity for us now because the first-team manager has shown that he's willing to give young players like Ben Harrison a chance and Ryan Sweeney has also been on the bench. The next step for me is the Under-21s and if I play well at that level then you never know I may get a chance."
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Dan Agyei and Egli Kaja, along with an update from manager Mark Robinson.