Shonga free-kicks can be Bucs trump card

Shonga is fast becoming a dead-ball specialist, having recently scored from two set-pieces for Pirates – last night against Light Stars and earlier this month against Polokwane City, and previously for the Zambian national team away to Guinea Bissau last month.

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The 22-year-old’s free-kick technique and accuracy can certainly prove a massive asset in his game, particularly if he struggles to find the back of the net from open play as he has done in the early stages of the season.

He admits it is something he has been working extra hard on in training and has also been encouraged by the coaching staff to refine his ability for the benefit of the team.

“It all comes from practicing at training. I practice them a lot with Jackson Mabokgwane, because the coaches always say, ‘It’s the last bullet in the gun’,” said Shonga.

“If we fail to score in open play but find even a single set-piece in a match, and we don’t get two or three, then we always have to make full use of it.

“They [the technical team] always put everything on me – they have the trust in me, so I have to pay back that faith [by scoring].”

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Having shown his attacking prowess shortly after his arrival last season, the Chipolopolo star has carried hefty expectations from the club’s supporters this term.

A frustrating spell earlier in the campaign saw him endure an 11-game scoring drought as the Bucs faithful began growing impatient and getting on his case.

However, Shonga has since chipped in with three goals in his last four games in all competitions, although he still feels the onus is not on him alone to find the back of the net.

“I think the [responsibility of scoring] is a shared thing, because if I’m not in the right position, I have to pass to Lorch or to Mulenga,” said the Zambian.

“If I can’t score then I have to assist, but as a striker I’m expected by the supporters to score in every game.  

“The coaches always tell me, ‘If you don’t score, we understand. At least you assisted, or you played better; you do a lot of stuff [correctly] – you make movements according to how we want you to play now…

“They tell me sometimes – and the supporters won’t understand it but myself and the coaches do – that I need to make such a move to create space for any of Mulenga, Lorch or Kutumela, or any of my teammates.

“So, it’s just a share of the responsibility. That’s what I’d say.”

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