by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – BY his own admission, Justin Shonga has built a reputation as a nomadic player, which critics believe is hindering him from reaching his full potential.
This wandering career spans three countries and six teams, half of them in South Africa.
After hitting the ground running in his stint with Sekhukhune United, the Zambian striker is eager to make his mark at the DStv Premiership debutantes.
This as they fight to finish their maiden campaign in a respectable position.
The 25-year-old has broken a 15-month goal drought after starring in Babina Noko’s thumping 4-0 victory over visiting Baroka FC at the Emirates Airline Park on Sunday evening.
While Nigerian striker, Chibuike Ohizu, stole the show with a double that duly won him the Man of the Match award, Shonga’s performance is worthy of mention.
The latter opened the floodgates as early as the third minute when Sekhukhune registered their biggest win in the Premiership.
Conversely, it is the heaviest defeat by Bakgakga this season. The weekend setback condemned them back to the bottom of the log.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Shonga said of his return.
The lanky forward coincidentally scored what was his last goal against the same opponents.
That was while playing for Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) on November 22 in 2020 in a 1-0 win at the Thohoyandou Stadium. It was his only goal for the club in seven matches he featured in.
By coincidence, while the latest goal was in the third minute, that one was in the third minute of injury time.
It is anticipated the rediscovered goal scoring chart heralds good things to come from the centre forward.
“It’s a good start for me because as you know, football-wise I have been struggling to settle in teams,” he said frankly.
“I just want to keep the momentum because when you are playing for a new club and you have just arrived, you need to adapt to the way they play. You have to work extra hard to put yourself in the starting eleven.”
It has been a whirlwind few months for the striker from the eastern region of Chipata, which is the main transport hub for trade between Zambia and neighbouring Malawi.
His career started at capital city (Lusaka) side Nkwazi in his homeland, followed by a move to the South African Premiership where a stint between 2017 and 2020 met mixed fortunes at Orlando Pirates.
While Shonga’s latter spells at TTM and Cape Town City were brief, a career at three-time Egyptian league champions, Ismaily, yielded only four games.
Following his return to South Africa, the Zambian is a source of hope in Sekhukhune’s ambitions, which initially were to retain Premiership status.
They occupy sixth position ahead of the visit by relegation-haunted Swallows FC on Saturday.
“I’m going to keep pushing harder. I’m so happy with the start, so I will keep going,” he concluded.
– CAJ News