Mb­wando backs new­boy Lunga

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Pet­ros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Ed­i­tor

FOR­MER Zim­babwe in­ter­na­tional Ge­orge Mb­wando has backed the War­riors’ move to in­fuse a new pool of play­ers ply­ing their trade in Euro­pean and other foreign leagues and is par­tic­u­larly charmed by the call-up of Bon­ner SC striker Kelvin “Kelly” Lunga.

Mb­wando, speak­ing from his base in Ger­many yes­ter­day, hailed War­riors coach Sun­day Chidzambwa and the na­tional team’s hard­work­ing man­ager Welling­ton Mpan­dare for be­ing on the right track in try­ing to turn around the na­tional team’s for­tunes.

The 42-year-old for­mer in­ter­na­tional, who played pro­fes­sional foot­ball for a num­ber of Ger­man clubs which in­clude Bon­ner SC, Vfb Old­en­burg, Vfb Lubeck, Ale­ma­nia Aachen, SSV Jahn Re­gens­burg and FC In­gol­stad, reck­oned the new play­ers would not only add to the War­riors depth, but bring dif­fer­ent di­men­sions to Chidzambwa’s men.

Mb­wando re­vealed that he had watched big striker Lunga, son of for­mer Dy­namos and Zim­babwe for­ward Max Lunga Makanza, grow through the de­vel­op­ment struc­tures of Ger­man foot­ball.

“I think the project to bring most of the Zim­bab­weans who are out­side the coun­try needs to be sup­ported and the coun­try should also af­ford Mhofu a chance to visit play­ers in Ger­many, Eng­land, Bel­gium and any other leagues so that he can also as­sess some of the play­ers who could not make the squad this time around.

“Rein­hard Fabisch used to do that and he vis­ited the likes of Henry McKop and Max Lunga at their clubs and it helped him a lot and Mhofu should be given the same kind of sup­port.

“Foot­ball now is big busi­ness ev­ery­where, it’s also busi­ness for the na­tional teams and for clubs and coun­tries to suc­ceed they have to in­vest. You can­not reap where you did not sow.

“I be­lieve there are plenty Zim­bab­weans and we have to ap­pre­ci­ate that those who are out­side are de­vel­op­ing faster than those at home for ob­vi­ous rea­sons such as ac­cess to the right fa­cil­i­ties.”

Mb­wando spoke highly of Lunga, who turned 24 on May 11, and be­lieves he could be the nat­u­ral gun­slinger who could play a big part in com­ple­ment­ing skip­per Knowl­edge Mu­sona as the main provider of goals for the War­riors.

“Kelvin is the rein­car­na­tion of Scara (as his fa­ther Max was af­fec­tion­ately known). I started watch­ing Kelvin when he was still a very young boy and he went through all the ju­nior de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in Ger­many.

“The ma­jor difference be­tween his dad and him is his speed, he is a quicker striker and his fa­ther was a bit slow, but still as pro­lific.

“He is even taller than Max (1.87m) and very strong in the air and he plays any­where in the of­fen­sive po­si­tions, but he is more ef­fec­tive as a cen­tre striker.

“I can as­sure the na­tion that a player like Kelvin will bring a dif­fer­ent and pos­i­tive di­men­sion.

“These are the kind of play­ers who can also profit a lot from Knowl­edge Mu­sona’s ex­pe­ri­ence and skills and I think this might be the be­gin­ning of a new era for the War­riors,” said Mb­wando.

Mb­wando said Kelvin Lunga had al­ways wanted to rep­re­sent his fa­ther­land and paid trib­ute to Mpan­dare for mak­ing tire­less efforts to en­sure all the play­ers in Europe, keen on turn­ing out for Zim­babwe, are as­sisted in that en­deav­our.

Lunga also ad­mit­ted that his War­riors call was a “dream come and true” adding he was grate­ful at hav­ing been in­cluded in the COSAFA Cup squad.

“It’s a big thing for me. It’s a nice feel­ing to be called up for the na­tional team,” Kelvin said.

“I think my fa­ther was a big deal. I don’t know ex­actly be­cause I wasn’t born in that time.

“But I have heard sto­ries about that time. I am try­ing to reach higher goals than my fa­ther.”

Mpan­dare has been rac­ing against time to try and con­vince the Zim­bab­wean au­thor­i­ties to process pass­ports for play­ers like Not­ting­ham For­est de­fender Tendai Darikwa, Ma­caul­ley Bonne of Ley­ton Ori­ent and Brad­ford City’s Adam Chick­sen.

The War­riors have until May 20 to fi­nalise their squad and sub­mit it to the COSAFA sec­re­tariat in South Africa.

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