Enock Mwepu’s progress with Albion is being celebrated by his army of fans back home.

But his recent wonder strike at Anfield tested the allegiance of football fans in Zambia.

Mwepu unleashed a superb finish over Alisson to spark Albion’s comeback for a 2-2 draw at Anfield.

That followed his productive second half as sub against Manchester City.

And a goal in the Carabao Cup, albeit followed by failure from penalty spot in a shoot out.

The spectacular strike at Anfield, though, was the big one, along with his general performance on one of football’s biggest stages.

Aaron Mubanga Junior, editor in chief of Zamfoot, loved the goal – and the reaction.

He told The Argus: “There was a lot of excitement about the two goals he scored in a week.

“And the fact the goal in the Premier League was a brilliant one.

“In Zambia, there are a lot of followers of the Premier League – and a lot of them are Liverpool fans!

“Actually, I think they were undecided on what to do.

“Whether to celebrate the goal or be sad because it was against their team.

“It was a bittersweet moment for them!

“But there was a lot of excitement that Mwepu recorded his first Premier League goal and against a team like Liverpool.”

Mwepu has taken just a bit of time to make an impact – although this was only the tenth game of his debut season in the top flight.

He knows by now the importance of keeping an even keel in what can be an up-and-down profession.

A week after his star role at Anfield, he was subdued at home to Newcastle and suffered a groin injury.

That in turn ruled him out of international action as two Brit-based colleagues, Patson Daka of Leicester and Fashion Sakala of Rangers, took the headlines with all the goals in a 4-0 win over Mauritania.

That is life in the Prem goldfish bowl.

Especially when you carry the hopes of a nation, as has been the case with Percy Tau, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and even, to an extent, Aaron Connolly two years ago.

And as might happen with Moises Caicedo and new Japan international Kaoru Mitoma.

Mwepu received rave reviews after 45 minutes at Luton in pre-season.

Then he failed to convince in the first half at Burnley on the first day of the new season.

Looking like a spare part in a bewildering set-up which did not work, Mwepu was taken off at half-time with his side a goal down.

Albion came back to win 2-1 playing a more familiar formation which suited them better.

It was clear that day that Graham Potter had spotted his mistake even as he headed to his half-time meet-up with the team.

With ten minutes or so in which to radically change things, the best idea was to stick with the players who had carried out what he had decided would be his second-half gameplan many times before.

Potter is keen to point out the exit of Mwepu that day was not a reflection of his performance.

Which appears a little generous from the outside, even though the bit about familiarity with the gameplan makes perfect sense.

Potter told The Argus recently: “I think he was a bit unlucky.

“As a team I don’t think we played that well in the first half at Burnley and we wanted to change it.

“It was really just a decision about playing players who had been with us and understood ‘okay we are changing from one thing to another here’.

“That communication had been built up as a team and it meant Enock was the one who missed out.

“When I analyse his individual performance, it wasn’t 'bad'. It wasn’t the reason why we were losing.

“Him coming off wasn’t the reason why we won.

“It wasn’t about that at all.

“He could have stayed on and I’m pretty sure we would have had the same outcome.

“It was just from a tactical perspective it made sense when we were changing it quite significantly to use players who had been with us for a little bit more time and had a bit more than Enock had had, which was five weeks with us.

“Since then he has had injury or illness and the team has picked up points as well so you don’t want to change certain things in the team.

“But we have always believed in him and his quality and it’s great he is showing that now.”

A superb pass in a midweek cup tie at Cardiff to release Jakub Moder for a goal was welcomed by fans.

But what counts most is what happens in the big league.

Asked for reaction to that slow start back home, Mubanga said: “There was a bit of a division.

“Some were worried maybe it was not going to happen for him.

“But most people know the qualities he has and we were sure it was just a matter of time before things happened for him.”

Mwepu played as a false nine or attacking midfielder when he went on versus City.

He was nominally deeper in midfield at Anfield, although he had a knack of popping up everywhere.

The opening 45 versus Newcastle saw him further forward again.

Mubanga said: “We see him mostly as an attacking midfielder or a second striker.

“His best position for us has been as a second striker, where he is given a free role to go around and do his business. But really he just wants to play.”

This has been a good period for Zambians abroad.

Daka scored four for Leicester in the Europa League and is really starting to make an impression.

Mubanga said: “Fashion got a hat-trick for Rangers and we have two players doing well at Djurgardens.

“Most of our players are doing well but, unfortunately, we could not qualify for the AFCONs.

“So it has been a bitter sweet moment.

“In terms of talent, very good. There is a lot of young talent coming through.

“But we are lacking the quality of coaches who can help these players become top class.

“There are players who are very good but it takes a lot of time for them to develop.

“Usually we are hoping they get to leave at a young age so they can become the finished product out there.”

“We have a lot of good under-20s and under-17s coming through.

“I’m excited because, with Patson and Enock, I have seen them develop into these big stars from when they were in the under-17s.”

Mubanga has seen the occasional Brighton shirt in the streets of Lusaka.

There is, of course, interest in the Zambian domestic league, which is exactly as it should be.

But the Prem is more popular than ever and the packed schedule coming up will give fans overseas even more chance to see their favourites.

Mubanga said: “Our league has some traditional teams who have huge followings.

“But most fans come from the shanty compounds and some teams are not in those areas so there is a challenge.


“But the English Premier League is bigger.

“Most of those who don’t watch the local league will still find time to watch the Premier League.

“The fact we now have Patson and Enock means it has become even bigger.

“Even people who didn’t follow the Premier League follow it now.

“Enock is a huge star. Every time he does something, even the president of the country gets to say something about it.

“Enock and Patson are becoming bigger stars every day that goes by.”