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Kambole and Shonga - the Zambian strikers' trials and tribulations in the PSL

10:19 pm AEDT 24/10/19
Augustine Mulenga, Justin Shonga & Austin Muwowo, Orlando Pirates & Lazarous Kambole, Kaizer Chiefs, July 2019
Goal takes a look at the two marksmen's struggles in South Africa and how they can become PSL legends

Many talented Zambian strikers have graced the Premier Soccer League (PSL) since the inception of the competition in 1996.

Dennis Lota, Christopher Katongo, James Chamanga, and Collins Mbesuma became household names in South Africa as prolific strikers.

The country's two biggest clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have two hugely gifted Zambian strikers on their books.

Lazarous Kambole secured a move to Chiefs before the start of the current season, while Justin Shonga joined Pirates in November 2017.

However, the duo has had a fair share of trials and tribulations and Goal takes a look at them:

Justin Shonga 

It took Shonga time to establish himself as a regular at Pirates as he had to adjust to the team's quick enterprising football under Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic, who has since left the club.

Once he was settled at the Houghton-based side, the 22-year-old player scored 10 goals in two seasons as Pirates secured back-to-back runners-up finishes in the PSL.

Sredojevic's departure at the beginning of the current campaign has seen Shonga fall out-of-favour under Rhulani Mokwena as the interim coach opts for a traditional number nine striker.

Tshegofatso Mabasa and Lerato Lepasa have been preferred ahead of Shonga, who is considered to be a mobile striker.

Mokwena recently indicated there is still hope for Shonga after he made his first appearance for Pirates in two months.

There is no doubt that Shonga has the talent and ability to reinvent himself to reclaim his place in the starting line-up.

Lazarous Kambole

Shonga's compatriot Kambole was expected to hit the ground running at Chiefs, but he has endured a difficult start to his career in South Africa.

The 25-year-old marksman arrived at the Naturena-based giants having played an instrumental role in helping Zesco United clinch the Zambian Super League title at the end of June.

Kambole did not have a proper break after that as he joined Amakhosi's pre-season camp ahead of the current PSL campaign.

The Chipolopolo player impressed with his ability to take the right options in promising positions, but his finishing let him down in front of the goal-posts. 

Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has dropped him from the team in recent times with Kambole having made seven appearances in the league without scoring a single goal.

The German tactician revealed Kambole has shown signs of fatigue and the fact that the team has been doing well has enabled Middendorp to rest the Lusaka-born player.

This will buy Kambole more time to settle down and adjust to Amakhosi's style of play and soon it will be up to him to prove his quality in the PSL.

Internationals 

One thing which sets Kambole and Shonga apart from most PSL strikers is their ability to excel at international level.

Kambole is widely known as the man with the fastest hat-trick recorded in the history of the Caf Champions League.

The lethal forward also came close to winning the 2018 Champions League Golden Boot as he established himself as one of the top strikers on the continent.

He has scored important goals for Zambia in the African Nations Championship (Chan) finals and Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.

On the other hand, Shonga is more experienced when it comes to international football having made his debut for Zambia in 2017.

Since then the former Nkwazi striker has finished as Chipolopolo's top goalscorer in the 2018 Chan qualifiers and the 2019 Afcon qualifiers making him a key player for the national team.  

He was also Pirates' top performer as they reached last season's Champions League group stage by netting five goals.

Kambole and Shonga can go on to become household names in South African football if they can replicate their international exploits at club level consistently.