By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
AMAZULU striker Myron Shongwe is the toast of South African team currently in Sudan for the 2nd edition of CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The well built former City Pillars and Black Leopards scored one of the two goals during the team’s opening match against Ghana before he could single-handedly tormented the Niger’s defenders as he scored twice during yesterday’s 2-0 victory in their second of Group B match.
Shongwe scored in the 56th and 88th to seal the victory for the Simon Ngomane’s coached side while at the same time booking the team a place in the quarterfinals of the competition
South Africa started the match on a good note, creating a number of scoring opportunities but their effort failed to see them break the ice for the rest of the first half.
Whatever Ngomane and his two assistants, Innocent Mayoyo and Humphrey Mlwane, told the players at half time seemed to have worked as they came back to the second half with renewed energy with Shongwe opening the score-sheet in the early minutes before competing his brace later to give the SA team a deserved 2-0 victory.
Ngomane expressed his delight at the result and also how proud he is of his team and its achievements in this tournament.
“First I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to Niger for a great match, I thought they played very well and are a very competitive team. I mainly want to congratulate my team for winning the second consecutive match in the tournament. What is important for this team is to be able to grow with the tournament and improve from match to match. The players must always give their best effort every time and I thought we did well very well this time around. I also want to thank CAF for creating and administering a tournament of this caliber because it gives a lot of youngsters in the continent a chance to play competitive football at the highest level,” said Ngomane.
The CHAN is the African championship open to players who play in their own domestic leagues. South Africa sent a largely amateur sides of players linked to clubs in the third and fourth tiers as professional clubs in the Premier Leaguer and National First Division refused to release their players. As a result, Shongwe, fellow striker Collin Zimba and the captain Jacob Mokhasi, are the only players with elite league experience.
Mpumalanga-born Zimba played in the Premier League with Classic FC; he is now with Tembisa-based Vodacom League side Vardos FC. Mokhasi, from Virginia in the Free State, is a fourth goalkeeper with SuperSport United. The 29-year-old was in the books of Bidvest Wits, Bush Bucks and Moroka Swallows in the past. SuperSport United released him for national duty because they have three other keepers in Rowen Fernandez, Wayne Brown and Sherwyn Naicker.
Meanwhile, in another Group B match Zimbabwe defeated Ghana 1-0 which now means that the only two teams from the Southern hemisphere occupy positions one and two in Group B. South Africa tops the group with two wins followed by Zimbabwe with one win and one loss but with a superior goal difference to Niger. Ghana is last in the group with no win having only managed to score a single goal during their opening match against South Africa.