IT’S an old boring story in the PSL.
The lack of passion and commitment to score goals by South African strikers is something that has been forced down the throats of many local football fans – and they’re living with it.
But when legends like Collins “Ntofontofo” Mbesuma start talking about the matter, then people must take this problem very seriously, and a solution needs to be found, quickly. Strikers don’t have the hunger to score anymore, the Zambian legend said.
The 35-year-old former Mpumalanga Black Aces bulky striker was a nightmare for opposition defenders during his stint with Kaizer Chiefs in the 2004-2005 season, where he netted a sensational 35 goals to become the season’s leading goal scorer.
In 2016, while playing for Aces, Mbesuma led the PSL goal-scorer’s chart again, but this time with 14 goals.
“I think nowadays strikers lack that hunger and passion to score goals,” said Mbesuma, who is now playing for National First Division (NFD) outfit Maccabi.
“The biggest problem is that strikers are not competing against each other, let alone those from other clubs. During my time at Chiefs, I was competing with guys like Sandile “AK 47” Ndlovu, Lungisani Ndlela and many more.
“I used to tell myself that I have to fight to score in each and every game, or else these guys will catch up with me. It was a healthy competition among strikers and the hunger to score goals was big, which kept us scoring and making the league exciting.”
“The strikers’ job is to score and nothing else. If you pass a game or two without scoring as a striker then you should be worried, and work hard. Stay behind at training and continue to work alone.”
What Mbesuma is saying has been said before by other legends of the game. But the drive seems to be gone, unlike in the English Premier League and La Liga, where nets are rattled.
Mbesuma advised strikers to first have the hunger and also know how to position themselves.
He explains: “It’s funny to see a striker in midfield instead of fighting to be in the box.”
Mbesuma is the personal advisor of compatriot and Black Leopards striker, Mwape Musonda, who is the current leading PSL goal scorer with eight goals – equal with Bloemfontein Celtic’s Tshegofatso Mabaso.
Mbesuma, who has seven goals so far in the NFD, said his ambition now is to play in the PSL again before he retires.
“When I look at myself I don’t see age, but a person who is passionate about playing football,” added Mbesuma, who was playing in the ABC Motsepe League last season and helped Maccabi get promotion to the NFD via play-offs.
“Look at Siyabonga Nomvethe, he is still playing at the age of 41. I have learnt a lot from Nomvethe while playing with him at Moroka Swallows. I still feel fresh and live a good life outside football. Even the NFD is tough and keeps me fresh and fit.”