Just shortly after the hour mark at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night, the crowd witnessed the long awaited return of striker Justin Shonga.
The Zambian striker, fresh from his impressive two goals in his national team colours last week, finally made an appearance for Orlando Pirates after missing out on the club’s previous five domestic matches, much to the surprise of the supporters.
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Although he made very little impact in that narrow 1-0 over Stellenbosch FC during their Telkom Knockout opening round tie, seeing him in the squad and making what can be considered a rare appearance was a good sign.
Asked for his thoughts on Shonga’s cameo, coach Rulani Mokwena only had words of encouragement.
“It was good to see him on the pitch and in the Buccaneers’ colours. Slowly but surely he is also fighting to get his place back in the team. And that is all you ask of a player. You ask them to be competitive and contribute,” Mokwena told the media.
Last week the coach had told the Siya crew that the biggest challenge for Shonga to break into the team was the form of Tshegofatso Mabasa and the work ethic of Augustine Mulenga, Gabadinho Mhango and Zakhele Lepasa.
The latter duo did not make the matchday squad at the weekend.
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