Justin Shonga and Xola Mlambo have both penned heartfelt letters to Orlando Pirates after parting ways with the club.
Despite bright starts to their Pirates careers, both players have experienced mixed fortunes with the Soweto giants.
Mlambo had been sought after while dazzling in the colours of Bidvest Wits, while Shonga was an instant hit after joining from Nkwazi FC in Zambia.
Having been a regular in his first two seasons at the club, Shonga experienced a dip in form, and lacked much needed game-time, following the arrival of coach Josef Zinnbauer in the 2019/20 season. There was also reported interest in his services from clubs in Europe, which were rebuffed by Pirates.
Shonga found himself in hot water with the club after breaking lockdown regulations, which saw him being omitted from the club’s bio-bubble squad. These issues eventually culminated in the 23-year-old’s departure from the club.
Taking to Instagram, the Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila striker penned a heartfelt letter to Pirates chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza in which he thanked the club for heartfelt memories.
“Its with deep gratitude and utmost regret that I had to bid farewell to the Buccaneer family. The love I felt from the fans is one I will fondly keep to heart and I hope in future we can still share moments together. In everything we do we must be grateful, thanks to the chairman and the management team at Orlando pirates football club, for the opportunity granted to me.Your support and encouragement during the difficult and the good times were inseparable. We’ll share nothing but all the good memories. May God bless you. Once and always @orlandopirates,” said Shonga on his official account.
Mlambo meanwhile, joined a new-look AmaZulu side after suffering a similar fate at the Buccaneers. The 29-year-old has established himself as a fan favourite in Bucs colours and was a regular in the 2018/19 season. However, his fortunes took a turn for the worst and found himself spending more time on the stands than on the field last season.
Now, as he looks forward to his journey with Usuthu, Mlambo too has thanked Pirates via his Instagram account.
“To the Chairman of Orlando Pirates, Dr Khoza, the supporters, I'm humbled and grateful to have been given the opportunity to don the jersey of the team of such a high stature, I'm greatful of the experiences and teachings, and will forever cherish the opportunity that was given,
God bless.@orlandopirates,” said Mlambo via his Instagram account.
Have a look at Pirates’ 28-man squad after Mlambo and Shonga's exit and the signing of Richard Ofori, among other changes: