Orlando Pirates fans no longer have to wonder why the much-loved striker Justin Shonga is not playing any football.
The club’s coach Rhulani Mokwena faced the media this week ahead of the Telkom Knockout last 16 action this weekend - and he didn’t leave the press conference without explaining why Shonga has been missing selection.
“The challenge is (Tshegofatso) Mabasa. Shonga is important and offers a different dynamic to our game model and how we play,” Mokwena told journalists via Soccer Laduma.
#PSLAwards— Official PSL (@OfficialPSL) May 25, 2018
Congratulations to Justin Shonga from @orlandopirates for making it into the top three of the #AbsaPrem Goal of the Season.
Will he walk away with the prize?....... Find out on Tuesday night at the #PSLAwards Live on @SuperSportTV and @SPORTATSABC pic.twitter.com/WqLvsoTjCv
A contribution of 32 goals (including assists) in 70 games for Pirates, as well as a brace for Zambia last weekend, required Mokwena to give more reasons why Shonga gets benched.
“In the same moment he knows that he is has other strikers competing with him – (Augustine) Mulenga, (Gabadinho) Mhango and the young (Zakhele) Lepasa. They are all important players and strikers. Justin did well for Zambia, and took the goals very well. The movement off the shoulder to get the goals.”
“We sat down with him and he is in a good place and competing for his place. He understands that there are other important players – that is the nature of the beast. They are a lot of quality players at Pirates. He is patiently waiting for his turn. And when he gets it he has to grab it with both hands and not look back,” Mokwena concluded.
Pirates striker’s numbers:
- Shonga: Zero goals in four games.
- Mabasa: Four goals in six games.
- Mulenga: One goal, three assists in six games.
- Mhango: Two goals, one assist in five games.
- Lepasa: Zero goals in one games.
So, will the pressure Shonga’s added on Mokwena while playing for Chipolopolo prompt the coach to select him this weekend? Well, we shall find around 17:00 on Saturday.
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