THE BREAKDOWN: Can Zungu Rise To The Top At Benfica?
Analysing Bongani Zungu's future
Bongani Zungu’s stock is rising and his links with Benfica have not dissipated, despite his club, Vitoria Guimaraes, offering him a new deal. We take a look at what his future could look like if he joins the Portuguese champions.
For a closer look at our analysis, click through the images above to see how Zungu compares to Benfica’s incumbent defensive midfielders.
Zungu’s current club, Vitoria Guimaraes, have offered him a new and improved contract, but, with Benfica showing interest in his services, Zungu will be weighing up his options, as revealed in Soccer Laduma issue number 1034, and, having taken little time to show his quality in Europe, helping his team to the Portuguese Cup final and a Europa League spot. However, at the age of 24, Zungu will not want to make a decision that could stunt his career.
As is typically the case with any move to a big club, there are two ways that a move to the reigning champions could work out. Zungu could become a key member of a team that plays in the UEFA Champions League and competes for top honours respectively, whilst seeing his stock rise and potentially attracting interest from even bigger clubs. Alternatively, he could find himself out of his depth at Estádio da Luz and spend regular time on the bench or in the stands, hindering his development.
Naturally, this is not absolute and things change as the season develops, but Zungu would have to think carefully about what the next stage in his development should be. To establish whether he’s capable of becoming a regular starter for the Eagles.
Benfica’s undisputed starter last season was Lubomir Fejsa, who eclipses Zungu in terms of passes, passing accuracy, long balls, tackles and interceptions. However, Zungu was better in the final third, in terms of key passes, won more aerial duels, and made more blocks and clearances. Zungu is also four years younger and has the potential to dethrone the Serbian. In that regard, however, he would have to exercise patience.
Benfica’s other two defensive midfielders, Andre Almeida and Andreas Samaris are behind Zungu, however, in almost every key statistic, with the exception of Samaris’ superior pass completion rate and long balls per game. However, Zungu can take confidence in the fact that he would likely be at least second choice at Benfica upon his arrival.
One thing goes without saying, however, and that is that the former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder seems to have found his feet after his European move. However, he has a long way to go before he can rise to stardom and a move to Benfica could be a wise decision or it could go the other way. At the end of the day, it’s up to the player to decide…
Do you think Bongani Zungu should move to Benfica or stay at Vitoria?