Simba respond to Shonga speculation

Orlando Pirates

After speculation that Simba SC were chasing the signature of Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga, the Tanzanian club's CEO Senzo Mbatha has come out to set the record straight.

Shonga, 23, arrived at Pirates in September 2017 from Zambian top-flight side Nakwazi FC as one of the most promising strikers in Zambian football.

And after a decent start to life in South Africa with 16 goals and as many assists over his first two seasons, the departure of former manager Milutin Sredojevic coincided with a dramatic fall from grace.

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With no goals or a single assist in 11 games over the course of the 2019/20 season, Shonga has been tipped for an exit, with Tanzanian giants Young Africans and Simba both said to have been in contact with his representatives.

However, Mbatha has come out to dispel the talk, suggesting that Shonga is well outside the club's price range, while star strikers John Bocco and Meddie Kagere are leading figures within the Tanzanian top-flight.

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Scroll through the gallery to see where Shonga ranks amongst the 10 most-valuable strikers in the PSL

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"The stories making the rounds that Simba are pursuing Shonga are incorrect," Mbatha told the South African Football Journalists Association.

"It is certain individuals in certain corners of the country here in Tanzania and in South Africa that have pushed this narrative that there’s an interest from Simba for [Shonga].

"There's currently no interest to acquire the services of [Shonga]. He is a very good player for Zambia. I think he can add value to my club, but we have a number of players who are playing in his position."

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The South African did, however, suggest that if one of Simba's players were snapped up in the off-season, Shonga could be considered as a potential transfer target but went on to question his current pay package in the Absa Premiership.

"If I were to lose one of those players, maybe I’ll consider Shonga, but for now, there’s no interest from Simba," Mbatha explained.

"Someone asked me about Shonga. If you look at his package, you need to be realistic as well and say, 'Can we afford this?

"We don’t want to create an artificial economy that has started to creep into our league back home in South Africa. People have created an artificial economy."