Justin Shonga admits he has big shoes to fill of former Zambia stars at Orlando Pirates
Posted: 29 January 2018 Time: 18:00
Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga has paid tribute to the club’s coaching staff following his maiden goal over the weekend.
Shonga netted for the first time as a Buccaneer as they went on to beat relegation-threatened Platinum Stars 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The Zambian international was delighted to have opened his account since completing a move from Nkwazi FC in September last year, and lauded coach Micho Sredojevic and co. for their support.
“I’m pleased to finally be off the mark for my team. It feels really good because I’ve been working hard and pushing myself,” Shonga told his club’s website.
“My teammates have also been pushing me and the coaches have shown faith in me by giving me game-time, so I just had to deliver. I’m very happy.
“The coaches are good because when they show trust they go all in. They constantly tell me that I ‘can do it’ and they back that up by giving me the opportunity.
“I have to repay that faith with my performances. I’ve settled down well into the new surroundings and have quickly adapted to the team’s style of play, thanks largely to them.”
The 21-year-old is one of many Zambian stars to have donned the colours of Pirates, with one such being the late Denis Lota, who still holds the record for the most goals scored for the club in a single season – 23 – which was set back in the 1998/99 season.
Shonga, though, downplays any comparisons with the Bucs striking legend, and admits respect for previous Chipolopolo stars that have passed through the Mayfair-based outfit.
“I can’t compare myself to Denis Lota, what a player! I have a great deal of respect for what he and other Zambian players did for this club, and for Zambia as a whole,” he noted.
“For me, the important thing is to honour him in my own way because football back then was a bit different to how it is now. What’s consistent though is the need to work hard, I just need to keep pushing.
“I know that if I can get close to what he did then I will be happy and leave a similar legacy. But I also know that if I get close to his goal tally, then maybe I can even pass that record number. But it needs work and dedication.
“I give credit to all the Zambian footballers that played for this club. The Denis Lotas, the Isaac Chansas, they gave their best and now have good reputations and a strong legacy.
“They have showed everyone that Zambia has talented footballers and it opened the door for guys like me.”