We recently caught up with Havant & Waterlooville striker Nicke Kabamba after a bittersweet match for him against Harrogate Town (3-2 to Harrogate), where he put away two impressive goals for the away side.
“It’s disappointing not to get the result, but I’m proud of myself for getting the two goals,” explained 25-year-old Kabamba, who joined Havant and Waterlooville this summer, after a stint at Portsmouth, and is enjoying his time with the National League club.
Of his progression from playing part-time to full-time football, 6ft 3ins tall Kabamba describes it as a dream come true: “As a kid everyone wants to be a professional and have their name on the back of their shirt.
“Taking that step-up from Hampton and Richmond Borough was obviously a dream come true. To join a team like Portsmouth, which is a team with so much history and run in a Championship-style, it was brilliant to be part of that.”
Kabamba said he learned a lot from his time at the League One club and, although he didn’t get much time on the pitch as part of the first-team, he enjoyed the experience.
In June of this year Kabamba made the move to Havant & Waterlooville and hasn’t looked back: “It’s great to be part of a club where I am one of the main players who the team are looking at to score the goals.”
After already winning man-of-the-match accolades twice and putting away four goals so far, Kabamba feels like he has really gelled with the team: “As soon as I joined I felt I was part of the team straight away. The togetherness of the team is really good and I think that’s what has helped them win back-to-back promotions.
“We’ve been unfortunate not to get some of the results to go our way, but we’re performing really well and it’s only a matter of time before we pick up some points again.”
It is clear Kabamba has great ambition and wants to help his team reach its potential, agreeing a target number of goals. He acknowledges this is quite a change from before he became a professional player.
“I used to think ‘let me just try and get a few goals and go from there’, but now I’m giving myself that extra push. Having a target of 20 goals and a mindset of needing to get those goals gives me that edge.”
Kabamba is reaping the benefits of a strong relationship with Hawks’ manager Lee Bradbury, himself a former striker for Portsmouth, stating the training is helping to fine-tune his skills: “I am learning a lot from Lee. We do a lot of additional finishing drills, including link-up play, which I’ve never done before at a club.
“It’s great to have Lee giving us those extra shooting sessions, giving us his insight and passing on his knowledge as a striker who has been there and done it.”
This Saturday sees the Hawks back in action at home against Solihull Moors where Kabamba will be hoping to make further inroads towards his goal target.