Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Lonesome Mongala is the go-to man

Seasoned Zebra, Ernest Amos of Tasc, must be enjoying his tussles with opposition strikers these days as his number one tormentor, Phenyo “Mzambiya” Mongala, left our shores to try his luck in the money spinning South African leagues.

The former Township Rollers master of ball wizardry has not stopped tormenting his opponents and he has been hitting newspaper headlines lately.
Signed by Rustenburg-based Silver Stars, alongside former Rollers teammate Moemedi “Jomo”Moatlhaping, the nippy midfielder-cum striker was loaned to ambitious Mvela Golden league side, Pretoria University FC. This was because Stars already had exhausted the quota of foreign players the Premier Soccer League allowed them to register.
Mongala, who completes the three men midfield formation of “Amatuks”, as Pretoria University is popularly dubbed, has taken the tough Mvela league by storm. Amatuks normally utilizes a 4-3-3 formation, which comprises a midfield of Mongala, Brian Ncala and Goodman Sinhautsi. The trio complements the team’s strikers very well as they also get into scoring positions to bag them themselves.

“Our midfielders make our job easier as they are capable of scoring goals themselves,” said the team’s Zambian striker, Clifford Mulenga. “The opposition defenders do not usually contain us because they would be guarding against the danger posed by our midfielders. Phenyo is amazing. He scores spectacular goals. He has bags of tricks.
“Obviously Silver Stars are getting him back at the end of the season. He will certainly campaign in the premier league. Initially I thought the guy is South African. To me he is even more skilful than Jabu Pule-Mahlangu. Botswana is growing in leaps and bounds if they can afford not to have players like Phenyo out of their national team.”

Speaking to Sunday Standard Sports in Pretoria after Amatuks downed a resilient Western Province United 4-1, Mongala said he was enjoying himself at the team.

“The atmosphere is good here. My teammates are all hungry for success and this is good for the team. People are just counting us out unjustifiably. We may get that playoff berth and take it from there. I am enjoying my game here and the supporters, most of whom are students at the University of Pretoria, are passionate. I hope Silver Stars will recall me as I am still contracted to them. By the end of the season, I would have garnered the necessary experience to campaign in the PSL,”said Mongala.
Against Western Province United, Mongala, who they call “Kideo”, opened the scoring for Amatuks as early as the 27th minute.

It was a stunning individual effort from the former Township Rollers starlet. He collected the ball just inside the Western Province half, dribbled his way into the opposition danger area before slotting a shot under the diving Lincoln Strauss, in goals for United. His tussle with United’s Lenton Smith reminded us of his traditional warfare with Tasc’s Amos. He would often bemuse his well-built opponent to the delight of a section of Pretoria technikon students who had come to support Amatuks.
Mongala’s goal meant that Amatuks led 1-0 at half time.

After the interval, Mongala’s team extended their lead through the evergreen Zambian under-20 national team striker Mulenga. Amatuks got two more goals from Davis Nkausu and George Maluleke.

LC de Villiers Stadium, Amatuks’s home ground in Pretoria, has become Mongala’s happy hunting ground as he has dared opponents week in and week out. But the nimble-footed Kanye-born player has not confined his maze runs to his home ground.

Mulenga revealed to Sunday Standard Sport that a week before the defeat of United, Mongala was in his usual element away in Arkerville Stadium- Mpumalanga, as he netted a brace to condemn another stubborn side, Witbank Spurs to a 2-0 defeat.

Another of his close teammates, Maluleke, said of Mongala, “This guy is showing that he has the full repertoire of a striker’s ammunition. His first goal against Spurs was scored with a deft chip after leaving four defenders in his wake. To score goals as he does in this tough Mvela league shows how good he is. He has surely raised his own profile and that of our team. Silver Stars cannot wait to have him back as he is a rare talent.

“One of his best games that still lingers in many people’s minds was the one against City Pillars away in Nkowa Nkowa Stadium. We were trailing 0-1 with less than ten minutes to go. Most of our players had resigned to defeat. The best we were hoping for in that game was a draw. Mongala then turned on his magic. Together with Cliff (Mulenga), they started doing a Ronaldhino and we were given a penalty after one of the Pillars defenders had brought him down in the box. I converted the spot kick for the equalizer.

“Later, Mulenga intercepted a stray pass from a Pillars player and fed Mongala who struck the ball first time onto the roof of the net for the winner. I mean. He was brilliant on the day. You need such characters in your team.”

Amatuks are currently placed fifth in the Mvela Golden League log after playing 10 games. This past weekend, they held a determined Fidentia Rangers (formerly Manning Rangers) to a one-all stalemate away in Stellenbosch. From the 10 games, Amatuks have won 5, drew 3 and lost two. Their only two losses came at the hands of Durban Stars and Vasco Da Gama. They drew with PJ Stars, The High riding Free State Stars and Fidentia Rangers. They have hit the back of the net 18 times. Only three teams have scored more than them and they are the league’s most expensive outfit ahead of FC AK, Free State Stars and City Pillars.

The man in the number 44 jersey for Pretoria University is expecting a call up to his senior national team sooner or later. In any case, he is an integral member of Banks Panene’s Olympic team that will soon be called for camp.


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