Limerick Star Nzuzi Puts Club Before Country


Patrick Nzuzi recently turned down the opportunity to play for his country, with the youngster missing out on the Francophone Games in Nice to instead help Limerick arrest their slide.

Nzuzi was capped at Under-20 level by the DR Congo at the Toulon Tournament earlier this year and was set to feature for them again this month as they took on Niger and Ivory Coast in the games that ran from 6-15 September.

However, due to the Superblues’ injury and suspension worries, at the request of manager Stuart Taylor he decided to stay at home for the visit of league leaders St Patrick’s Athletic to Thomond Park on 7 September.

Earlier that same afternoon, his country defeated Niger 5-1. But Limerick’s scoreless draw – a first clean-sheet in eight league games and the end of a four-game losing streak in all competitions – meant that staying in Ireland was worthwhile for the right-back, who plays in a central midfield role for his homeland.

“I was meant to go for ten days but I spoke to the Gaffer and we had an injury crisis within our small squad so he asked me to stay,” Patrick explained to

“We had an important game coming up and needed a result so I chose to put the club’s priorities first and stay and play the game against St. Pat’s.

“I was obviously thrilled to be called up but my club’s priorities come before my country.

“When I get the chance to play for my country I love it – it’s a different style of football. It’s a learning curve. You meet players from different clubs and you learn a lot from them. I always enjoy it.

“The fact that we got a result against St. Pat’s, I was even happier that I stayed.”

The versatile Nzuzi stated that he is happy to play in any position once he is on the pitch, but he admitted that having the same back four in two successive games was a help to his side against the much-fancied Saints.

And he is hoping to build on that display against Shamrock Rovers at home on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

“It helped us because there is continuity about it,” the 20-year-old – who played against France, the USA, South Korea and Columbia in the Toulon Tournament between 30 May and 5 June this year – said.

“And obviously the more games you play together the more you get to know each other’s game and the more you can improve from there.

“Hopefully, we can keep the defence together and continue to improve game by game.

“We have improved in the last couple of games and the clean-sheet against St. Pat’s was obviously a big thing. Hopefully, we can build on it going into Tuesday against Shamrock Rovers.

“Shamrock Rovers are a physical team and they can pass the ball. They’re a good side. I like playing against them. It should be a good game.

“We’re confident going into the game and we know if we can improve again from the last game then there’s no reason why we can’t get three points.

“It’s important to finish the season on a high, and see where we go from there.”

For the record, the DR Congo lost their second group game 2-1 to Ivory Coast who netted a late winner. Ivory Coast went on to beat Niger 4-0 to qualify for the semi-finals.

The Jeux de la Francophonie is a tournament contested by French speaking nations and takes place every four years, having started in 1989.

Nzuzi’s appearance against St. Pat’s was his 19th of the season in all competitions, 16 of which have been starts.

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