Michael Ngobeni – the representative of an Orlando Pirates striker – says he has come under pressure from the Zambia national team for the player’s lack of game-time at the Soweto giants.
Due to falling down the pecking order, Justin Shonga has been linked with an exit from the Buccaneers since the end of last season.
“Even Messi won’t be happy when not playing. Tell me any player that would be happy when not playing. The secretary general of the Zambia FA phoned me and asked if the boy is going to play. He is their top striker. So, I’m under pressure from the national team of Zambia for Justin to play,” said Ngobeni.
The 23-year-old has made only three starts for Bucs in the league this season and is appearing to be out of favour in coach Josef Zinnbauer’s team.
“But as an intermediary I need to find out from the club what transpired for him not to play. That’s what we are going to discuss first. Most of the time you go ballistic about a player that he isn’t playing without having the facts. You go there and get the facts and get humbled,” he told the Siya crew.
Contacted for comment, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) general secretary Adrian Kashala said, “The concern we have as the country and people in charge of football in Zambia is that we have players all over Africa, and some of them in Europe, and we follow their performances with keen interest as far as game-time is concerned, and we realise that it’s been a while that Shonga featured for his club. That also affects the performance of our national team. If the players that we count on are out there and just warming the bench, or sometimes not even on the bench, we want to find out what the problem is for our player and see how he can be helped to rekindle his previous performance.”
Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Gustavo Paez says the club would be deserving champions if the season was to not continue