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FEATURE: How Shonga and Mulenga combination for Zambia could benefit Orlando Pirates

09:42 GMT 20/03/2018
Augustine Mulenga of Orlando Pirates
Goal takes a look at how Shonga and Mulenga combination for Chipolopolo could benefit the Buccaneers in the remaining matches of the current season

Two Orlando Pirates forwards in Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga are currently on national duty after being included in the latest Zambian squad for the upcoming four-nation tournament.

The tournament will feature Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa as well as the hosts, Zambia and it will be played from 21 to 24 March in Ndola.

Some Bucs fans will be keen to see how Shonga and Mulenga perform for their national team having caught the eye of the Soweto giants' scouts while playing for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) champions.

Shonga joined the Buccaneers from Zambian Super League outfit Nkwazi FC in September after impressing in Chipolopolo colours during the 2017 Cosafa Cup. The young marksman also helped his country qualify for the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals.

The striker is slowly establishing himself as one of Pirates' key players having cemented his place in the team's starting line-up as the Milutin Sredojevic's side look to beat Mamelodi Sundowns to this season's PSL title.

In January, 2018, Shonga was joined by his countryman Mulenga at the Houghton-based outfit. There was too much hype after Mulenga was unveiled at the end of the mid-season transfer window.

The winger-cum-striker had propelled Zambia into the 2018 Chan knockout stages which were hosted by Morocco. Mulenga was a wanted man having also clinched the Zambian Player of the Year accolade in 2017 following a successful campaign with Zanaco.

Mulenga was linked with some of the biggest football clubs in Africa and he opted to join the Buccaneers, who were desperate to sign a proven goalscorer. Bucs had missed out on Jeremy Brockie, who joined Mamelodi Sundowns from SuperSport United.  

An injury delayed the 27-year-old's debut for the club and he then made his official appearance against Kaizer Chiefs in a league game which ended 3-1 win in favour of Pirates almost three weeks ago. 

Mulenga then made his full debut as Bucs suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup Last 16 in a game which was dominated by the Soweto giants, but they could not convert their chances.

Shonga and Mulenga will be back in national team colours during the two-week Fifa break and they will be working with Zambia head coach Wedson 'Wada' Nyirenda once again. The tactician knows exactly how to get the best out of the two forwards.

Mulenga has flourished as a winger under former Kaizer Chiefs striker Nyirenda which has seen the former Nkwazi player score goals and grab assists with ease for the national team since making his international debut in 2017.

Shonga, 21, has been used as a focal point for the Zambia attack - acting as a pivot for the attacking movement of the rest of the team and he scored three goals in the Cosafa Cup and another three in the Chan qualifiers last year.

The four-nation tournament will surely provide Pirates head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic and his technical team with an opportunity to see how best to utilize Mulenga and Shonga for the remainder of the season.

Should the partnership bear fruit in Zambia, Micho will have an idea of how to incorporate Mulenga into the Bucs starting line-up and pin his hopes on the two Chipolopolo forwards to fire the Soweto giants the PSL title.