First Socceroos start a 'very proud moment' for Kusini Yengi

Kusini Yengi earned his first start for the Subway Socceroos in their 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan on Tuesday.

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The 25-year-old striker came into the squad to replace the currently injured Mitch Duke and played the full 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match, Yengi expressed how proud he was to get his first start for his country.

“I think I've been training the whole camp from the start when I first came in, hoping that I’d start a game and just getting my body ready and helping the team prepare,” he said.

“I always want to be on the pitch and getting my first start for my country is a very proud moment for me."

In the match, Yengi had 34 touches, created a chance and was involved in the play that led to the penalty being awarded to the Socceroos, having dribbled past a couple of Uzbek defenders to reach the 18-yard-box.

Looking back at the game, he said it was a physical battle and felt he was able to hold the ball up well going forward.

“They were a strong opponent and bit different to India and Syria that we played in the previous games, but I think I did well,” he said.

“I tried my best to use my body to hold up the ball and bring other players into the game and I think it worked.”

As well as his strength and ability to hold the ball under pressure, Yengi is also known for his dribbling ability and that was evident in the build up to the penalty as he went on a mazy run through the defence.

He said: “I think that's one of my attributes, I'm a very versatile player.”

“I can use my body to pin players and hold the ball up and bring other players into the game, but I can also run in behind and get the ball to my feet and dribble and go one v one with defenders and create opportunities for the team.

“So, I think I'm a huge asset for the team and you saw some of that today.”


Going forward, Yengi hopes to be able to stay in the starting eleven and is hoping to get on the scoresheet in this tournament.

“I'm looking forward to the next game and hopefully starting again then hopefully scoring a goal and then getting through to the next round, I'm looking forward to it,” he said.


Round of 16 opponent to be confirmed following the conclusion of the tournament's group stage.

Every AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 match will be live on Paramount+