Mkosana Finds a Home with Cosmos

Lucky Mkosana has had a strong start to his first season in New York.
Published Jul 9, 2015

By Aaron Cheris (@AaronHowie)

Whenever Cosmos forward Lucky Mkosana scores, he celebrates by bringing part of his African heritage to the pitch.

“In my culture, scoring goals is supposed to be fun,” Mkosana, a Zimbabwe native, said. “You’re supposed to dance and celebrate.”           

In his first season with the New York Cosmos, Mkosana has had his share of reasons to celebrate. He has been one of the Cosmos' best attacking players in the team's title-winning Spring Season in the NASL.

“It’s been a phenomenal season because in the spring we went undefeated,” Mkosana said. “We started to grow more from the beginning of the season until the end of the spring.”

Through the first portion of the 2015 season, the 27-year-old Dartmouth grad leads the Cosmos with seven goals across all competitions.

Prior to joining the Cosmos, Mkosana spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he netted four goals in 34 games. He credits the continued growth of his game to a good stylistic fit.

“This is more of an attacking team and I feel it’s more suitable for my type of play,” Mkosana said. “I feel like Gio and Alecko recognize my strengths.”

“I do think we identified his strength points,” head coach Gio Savarese said. “If you remember in Tampa, he played wide left. We thought he was more of a striker.”

Often Mkosana has been paired in the attacking third with Spanish football legend Raúl, and the two have combined to form one of the league’s top attacks.

“He has a winning mentality. He’s a guy that I try to learn from every day in practice,” Mkosana said of Raúl. “He is a role model for me and I’m really fortunate to be a part of the team with him.”         

“He’s been great with Raúl,” Savarese said of Mkosana. “I think our guys have been able to play some balls to his advantage and when he scores, it builds confidence. He’s a very confident player now.”           

One of Mkosana’s best moments with the Cosmos was his brace in Havana against the Cuban National Team, which led the Cosmos to a 4-1 win in a historic friendly.           

“What we did in Cuba was crazy because their fans loved us even though we were winning,” Mkosana said. “As a whole, I feel that we showed our character. I am really excited that the team won. It was special for me.”           

Mkosana said his family in Zimbabwe was watching that game, and it was one he will always remember.           

One of the Cosmos' strengths this season is their ability to mount second half comebacks. They are living up to the "Cardiac Cosmos" nickname of 2013. In the 2015 NASL Spring Season, New York scored six goals past the 80th minute of games.         

Not counted among the six was Mkosana’s 90th-minute equalizer against New York City FC in the East River Derby, which kept the Cosmos alive in a game they eventually won in a penalty kick shootout

“The winning mentality of this team is at another level. Nobody likes to be down and everybody is fighting,” Mkosana said. “If you see Raúl trying to fight until the last minute, you get motivated by that too and try to push yourself even more.”           

But once that goal comes, it’s time to celebrate, and Mkosana combines his homeland and his own passion in his celebrations, usually with a dance or a song.       

“When I hold the corner flag, it symbolizes my love for music,” Mkosana said. “The dancing is just like back home. We love to dance and it’s part of who I am.”           

Now the Cosmos will look to have a strong Fall Season before making a run at their second modern era NASL Championship. Mkosana said the goal is simple.           

“We’re trying to go out and have another undefeated season and make history."