Kamsoba heals Hyundai A-League heartbreak ahead of Melbourne Derby
Elvis Kamsoba's journey from Tanzanian refugee camp to the bright lights of the Melbourne Derby is almost complete and he can now peacefully reflect on a near miss that threatened to crush his Hyundai A-League dream.
The Burundi-born excitement machine's professional career almost finished before it began when Adelaide United rebuffed the chance to sign him several years ago.
Kamsoba impressed then-Reds boss Josep Gombau during a trial but a sudden change in circumstances torpedoed the likelihood of a life-changing opportunity.
"He did [like me]. But he called me in and the week he called me was the same week he left," Kamsoba said of Gombau's interest.
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"Then I was there with a different coach and he didn't fancy me.
"You feel down, you feel like 'what's going to happen now?'
"But people keeping telling you it's not the end of the world, you're good enough, keep going, and that's what I did."
He has certainly shown himself to be good enough.
Seizing the second chance
Kamsoba, then 20, persuaded his mum to let him leave for Victoria, where he initially linked up with Melbourne Knights before shooting to prominence in the FFA Cup for Avondale FC.
Victory took notice and the raw young winger soon found himself attempting to turn heads in training sessions dominated by polished professionals like Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen.
"My old coach told me to look at myself as the best player on the training ground so that's what I did," Kamsoba said.
"When I came obviously I was a bit nervous, seeing all these good players who have played at the highest level.
"I was trying to learn from them and everyday that's what I've been doing."
Kevin Muscat - whom Kamsoba describes as a "good man" - offered a contract and now, after eight exciting appearances, the 22-year-old who fled his home nation aged just four months is ready to shine on one of Australian football's grandest stages.
"I've seen for myself, it's always a big game," Kamsoba smiled when asked about the Melbourne Derby.
"I've only been to one. The last one, when I was involved with the club. I was watching from the stands.
"It was a great game. The fans go crazy and I love that. I'm looking forward to playing in it now."