Bongani Zungu: Vitoria Guimaraes rejected an offer from Benfica

Vitoria Guimaraes, Bongani Zungu
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Zungu has explained why he joined the Unicorns despite interest from several other clubs

South Africa international Bongani Zungu recently completed his switch to newly promoted French Ligue 1 side Amiens Sporting Club.

Zungu was one of the standout players of a Vitoria Guimaraes team which not only secured a Europa League berth but also reached the final of the 2017 Taca de Portugal. The 24-year-old’s exploits subsequently earned himself the admiration of several high-profile clubs which included the likes of Portuguese giants Benfica and Porto as well as English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

However, Zungu opted instead for a move to France which came as a surprise to many fans. But despite some negativity surrounding the move, the former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder is determined to succeed at his new club.  

“I am ready for the challenge,” Zungu told the Saturday Star.

“They wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of signing me on deadline day if they were planning on not using me. The club showed a real interest in getting me to France and I felt I couldn’t say no.

“Initially I felt maybe I am moving at a fast pace, spending a season in Portugal and then going off to France, but that is life, that is football.

“These things move quickly. I am strong, and I will have to adjust to another different environment and playing style.

“It obviously came unexpectedly to a certain degree, but I think it is good for my profile. Maybe people don’t know the club I am going to so much, but their objectives and ambitions are very clear to me,” he added.

Furthermore, Zungu went on to explain why he opted for a move to France, and confirmed reports that Benfica were also interested in his services.

“The club will be playing in the Europa League this year and I would have loved to show my ability on that stage,” he stated.

“But I went to Guimaraes knowing they are a selling club, and if you perform, you will possibly move on to a bigger club or league.

“There was interest from Benfica, but for reasons I cannot reveal, the club didn’t accept that offer. I don’t have regrets. I went with my heart and I feel good about it,” he explained.

Nonetheless, Zungu’s transition to French football will be made easier by the fact that another South African in Keagan Dolly is also plying his trade in France’s topflight.

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“I get to play against my friend Keagan, who is happy for me. It helps to be in touch with people who you know and play with in the national team,” Zungu said.

“I have watched a couple of games in the French Ligue and I know that in Portugal, we were a bit more physical than in France. The pace was a lot faster, but in France they are a lot more patient.

“I think I will adjust. I will do my best,” he concluded.