Former Oldham Athletic striker and now Latics' leading youth team goal scorer, Mwiya Malumo, looks ahead to the Youth Alliance Cup final against Hartlepool United.
- The latest Academy interview with Under 18 striker Mwiya Malumo.
- 18-year-old Malumo on his time at Oldham Athletic and recent work experience at Skelmersdale United.
- Striker determined to help Latics to silverware in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday.
Mwiya Malumo has been in fine goal scoring form for the Under 18s this season, with 20 goals in all competitions, despite a number of frustrating injuries in recent months.
Although the forward was unable to hit the target in the Development Squad’s recent Central League Cup final defeat to Mansfield Town, Malumo believes the experience will have a big part to play when the Under 18s host Hartlepool United in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup final at Christopher Park on Saturday afternoon.
“It was disappointing to lose in the final,” Malumo began.
“But considering the experience they had on the pitch our performance was okay.
“We were a young group apart from Shaun MacDonald. He was a big help to all of the lads, he made it easy for us to stay calm for long periods of the game, but unfortunately, we couldn’t keep Mansfield out.
“They were a very physical team and we know we should have matched them better, but that’s a good learning process for all of us.
“In terms of experience it was up there with the Middlesbrough and Accrington Stanley games in the Checkatrade Trophy. It was the same type of challenge against players who feature every week in League Two.
“We’ve got a big game coming up tomorrow in the cup final against Hartlepool United, so those of us who played against Mansfield will be mindful of the occasion and use the disappointment to help us.
“We have to go into the game believing we can win the cup because it would be a great way to keep our league momentum going.”
Mwiya Malumo in action against Middlesbrough at the DW Stadium in October.
Malumo, who is now in his second year with the Under 18s, joined Latics from today’s opponents Oldham Athletic. Despite not being offered an apprenticeship at Boundary Park, the 18-year-old holds no grudges against his former club.
“I had a good time growing up at Oldham, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It didn’t work out for me towards the end of my time there and the club chose to go with a different option from another team.
“At the end of the Under 16s season I came here on trial and scored a hat-trick in my first game, ironically that was against Oldham. It was a great feeling and I like to think it proved that Oldham made the wrong decision.
“Leaving Oldham didn’t get to me in the way it might have got to other players because I was given a chance to prove myself here at Latics.”
Malumo has been pleased with his personal progression since joining Latics and he puts that down, in part, to his recent work experience at Northern Premier League Division One side Skelmersdale United.
“My game has matured since I came back from Skelmersdale. I know how to cope with the physical side of the game more.
“I played both of the games I was there for against Scarborough and Goole.
“The first game was a great experience in front of a big crowd at Scarborough and as a team we did really well against one of the best teams in the division. We were unlucky and conceded late on to lose 2-1.
“In the second game against Goole we needed more quality in the final third because we created a lot of chances but couldn’t get the win.
“Skelmersdale play a similar style of football to how we play in the Under 18s. In my two matches for them we had to adapt to the conditions of the pitch and the weather, but most of the time we played well on the ball.
“There were times when I had to challenge in the air for periods of the games, but that was a good experience to practice a different side of my game.”
Mwiya was speaking for the official match day programme ahead of Latics' League One fixture against Oldham Athletic at the DW Stadium on Friday 30 March.
Pick up your copy of the programme at the ground, or purchase online to read more from Mwiya, plus much, much more.