By FELIX MALUNGA and SHAMAOMA MUSONDA –
ZAMBIA striker, Collins Mbesuma was yesterday awarded a two-year contract by South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) side, Mpumalanga Black Aces after passing trials.
Mbesuma did enough to impress veteran coach Clive Barker during his week-long trials with Aces in Johannesburg.
In an interview from Johannesburg after clinching a deal yesterday, Mbesuma said he was happy that Aces had given him another opportunity to resuscitate his football career.
He paid tribute to Barker, a former South Africa coach, for the confidence he had shown in him and promised to work hard to prove his worth.
“I have been given a two-year contract by Mpumalanga Black Aces with an option of extension. I just finalised the deal and I’m happy with the contract that I have been offered. I thank God for this and I’m now looking forward to playing football regularly this coming season,” Mbesuma, who just parted ways with former PSL champions, Orlando Pirates, said.
Barker, Bafana Bafana’s 1996 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winning coach, had given the talented former Kaizer Chiefs talisman a target to lose some weight.
Aces will be the sixth South African club the burly Chipolopolo striker will be playing for after starring for Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns, Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates.
Mbesuma, whose 35 goals for a season in South African football is still unbeaten, will be part of the ‘AmaZayoni’ team heading to Nelspruit today for a training camp that ends on July 19.
While ‘King David’ as Mbesuma has nicknamed himself clinched a deal, Barker released Sibusiso Zuma, Rowen Fernandez, Johannes Motlhaping, Augustine Leonard and Jabulani Mazibuko who were also invited for some trials.
Meanwhile, Zambia coach Patrice Beaumelle is excited that midfield anchor, Nathan Sinkala has signed another deal in Europe, saying the experience he will gain at Swiss top division side, Grasshopper is invaluable and will ultimately benefit the Chipolopolo.
Beaumelle said Sinkala was a top quality player and that Europe was the right place for him after earlier spending six months last season at French side Sochaux.
Sinkala during the week signed a six-month loan move to the Swiss league with Grasshopper Club Zurich (GCZ) from his Congolese side TP Mazembe.
“I first spoke to Nathan about his move and I must say, I am very happy, I wish him all the best. Grasshopper is a very good club and I’m sure he will enjoy himself. It always makes me happy when the Chipolopolo boys sign for a good side; it is a good sign for the Chipolopolo,” Beaumelle said when talking to fazfootball.com.
Beaumelle also expressed happiness that a number of Chipolopolo stars were signing for good clubs, highlighting troubled midfielder Fwayo Tembo who sealed a two-year deal at Turkish side, Konyaspor.
He said that now that Tembo had signed for a quality side, he needed to fight for a place at his starting team and then look at being recalled to the Chipoloplolo.
Beaumelle also had words for upstarts Bonwell Mwape, Bruce Musakanya and Evans Kangwa as well as Felix Katongo before they left for prospects at foreign clubs.
“I speak to all players before they leave for foreign clubs and what I told them is to get a starting place. I will keep following their performance even when abroad and it is easier to do that if they are playing,” he said.
Bonwell Mwape signed for Amazulu while Bruce Musakanya is going for trials at the same club with Evans Kangwa is heading to Israel.
Other players who have recently joined new clubs are Christopher Katongo, Evans Musonda (both Wits University in South Africa) and Felix Katongo (Al Ittihad Alexandria, Egypt).