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Red-hot Shonga

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Bucs coach confident Zambian striker will kick-start their Champions League campaign

Picture: Samuel Shivambu BackpagePix

Justin Shonga has come under-fire for missing clear-cut goalscoring opportunities for Orlando Pirates in the last few months, but delivered the goods for the Buccaneers on Saturday against Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The Zambian netted the winner which fired Pirates into the final of the competition where they will meet Baroka FC at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on December 8.

Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic was more than happy to see his marksman ending a poor run in front of goal.

“Shonga and Mulenga (Augustine) are coming from the setback as Zambia failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in succession. From such a setback, the best football answer is to bounce back. That’s what we are looking for.

“The assist of Mulenga to Shonga for that winning goal is the best possible way to bounce back. We are happy to have him and he is working very hard (Shonga),” Sredojevic said.

Shonga is expected to lead the line again for Pirates when they welcome Light Stars tomorrow at Orlando Stadium in their opening fixture of the Caf Champions League.

“I think now all those who attacked him after missing so many chances and the penalty last time (in the derby) have seen that after all the stones of missing, the sunshine will come for him and the sunshine came when he scored that goal. We are happy to have him around and he is working very hard for more.”

Pirates are in red-hot form these days. They are unbeaten in their last 11 games across all competitions. The Buccaneers are also playing football that is eye-catching.

Important competition

“We are hoping to kick-start the Champions League in the best possible way. This is a very important competition to us,” Sredojevic explained.

To this end Pirates will be hoping to put Light Stars to the sword when they lock horns at home tomorrow. They will visit the Islanders in the Seychelles next Wednesday for the return leg.

“Special thanks to our supporters, they have been with us through thick and thin. We are inviting our supporters to come and help us kick-start our campaign in the Caf Champions League.

“If we look behind ourselves there’s so many things to be proud of,” Sredojevic said.

“We are looking forward to use the power given to us and that is power to make our supporters proud.”