Police experience helping Justin Shonga excel at Orlando Pirates

The forward, who recently scooped the PSL Goal of the Month for February award, is happy to be playing for one of the biggest football clubs in Africa

Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga says discipline is key to his early success at the Soweto giants.

The 21-year-old, who is a member of the Zambian police service, has established himself as one of Bucs' key players as they look to clinch the 2017/18 Premier Soccer League (PSL) title. 

“The police in Zambia have police teams. So, I went through those teams (Nkwazi). A lot of players who play for police clubs are given employment in government in Zambia," Shonga told The Star.

"That life (as a police officer) was a different environment and different lifestyle. It changes you. It’s different than being a civilian. The discipline needed to be a policeman has helped me a lot. It brought me this far because football requires discipline and hard work," he said.

Shonga joined the Buccaneers in September 2017 from a Zambian Super League side Nkwazi FC which is sponsored by the Zambia Police Service.

"For you to be a policeman, you have to train well, work hard and be disciplined. I think that background will ensure that I don’t stray but remain a disciplined man who works hard to achieve his objective," Shonga explained. 

The mobile forward is named after his father, Justin Shonga senior, who played for Zambian Super League giants Zesco United.

“I had a dream of playing for Zesco, just like my father. It never materialised. Zesco wanted me to sign at some point. But I was under the police and the authorities couldn’t allow me to join them," he revealed.

"I might not have been able to follow in my father’s footsteps by playing for Zesco but I have managed to do something even bigger, playing for one of the biggest clubs in Africa," Shonga added.

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"I am enjoying my time here and being in this environment is helping me grow because every big club anywhere in the world is judged by results and we are getting them at the moment," he concluded.

The Zambian, who has netted three goals in 14 PSL appearances, will be looking to inspire Pirates to victory when they take on SuperSport United at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday.

Bucs are heading into this encounter placed second on the league standings - four points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns with five games left.