Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede


Zungu quashes ‘rival’ talk with Jali

'It is not just Andile I am competing with for the position,' says Zungu.

When Bongani Zungu rejoined Mamelodi Sundowns a couple of months ago, the general perception was that he would slot in alongside Andile Jali in the heart of midfield.

Jali had just won multiple Premier Soccer League awards at the end of last season, and it made sense that he would be a starter this season.

However, as you would know, football has no ‘therefore’. This season Jali has not featured as much as he did in the previous campaign as Teboho Mokoena has been the mainstay in the engine room.

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According to certain sections of the media and football observers, Jali and Zungu will not be able to play together. In fact, the rumour mill has had it that the midfield anchors do not see eye-to-eye, something Zungu has dispelled.

“I don’t understand (why we can’t play together) because we played together at Bafana Bafana during coach Shakes Mshasba’s time,” said Zungu.

“But because of the depth at Sundowns, it is not just Andile I am competing with for the position. There’s Teboho who is doing well for the team, it is not about me and Andile. At the end of the day we all want to win and leave our mark and leave a legacy of Hlompho Kekana’s jersey number 8,” he said.

The former Rangers midfielder left lucrative offers in Europe to join Sundowns, which raised many eyebrows given the amount of interest in his services.

Returning home at the age of 30 seems a bit odd, one would suggest. But for Zungu, his decision was not informed by football reasons.

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“Nothing went wrong, I made a decision to come back to South Africa because I had personal reasons on why I had to come back and I don’t have any regrets with my career. Like anything in life, you go through ups and downs and that is what happened to me. I am not the last person who is going to face this situation,” said Zungu.

He adds: “Me coming back does not mean there is something wrong or I failed. People can say whatever but I am happy. I come from nothing and I worked hard to play in Europe. There is nothing about failing, my family is happy that I am back, I am happy at Sundowns and there is no turning back. There is no football reason that made me come back.”

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