Dakarai Mafico

Dakarai Mafico earns First Team involvement

Erol Bulut’s side’s first pre-season match ahead of the 2024/25 campaign saw Dakarai Mafico involved at First Team level for the first time.

The 17-year-old midfielder joined the Academy at the age of eight and recently signed his first professional contract. 

After impressing for both the U18s and U21s last term, Dakarai was named on the bench on the final day of the 2023/24 season at Rotherham United, before featuring for 45 minutes in the clash with Kidderminster Harriers.

“I really enjoyed it,” Dakarai began. “All the boys helped me settle in really well and I think I showed what I can do on the pitch and the fans saw that. It’s a positive start and I hope that everyone is impressed with me. 

“I was eager to impress straight away. Being a new name in the team, I wanted to show what I can do quickly. My aim was to show that I can fit in with the team and that I didn’t look out of place. I felt like I was part of the team and even though the result didn’t go out way, I feel like I had a positive performance.

“I felt good physically. It was my first 45 minutes of the season and it felt good. I hope that I can get more opportunities with the First Team or in the Academy now that I have got minutes in the tank.”

Dakarai Mafico

Coming on at half-time in a completely switched XI from the first period, Dakarai played alongside Andy Rinomhota in midfield, with Ryan Wintle operating just ahead of the duo.

Dakarai added: “It’s brilliant to learn from our senior players. I’m just trying to notice the small things they do in and out of possession. Hopefully, that can add to my game and it helps me to move in their direction. It was good to have experience around me and them constantly talking to me, it helped me to feel secure in my position. 

“I want to continue to build on this 45 minutes that I’ve had and come the start of the season, show my ability over 90 minutes.”