Former Bloemfontein Celtic striker, Clifford Mulenga has spoken out about the challenges foreign players face when they come to South Africa.
The attitude of South African players towards foreign players (Zambian in this case), which borders on outright discrimination, is the main highlight of Mulenga’s comments.
Mulenga was speaking about the situation of former Kaizer Chiefs forward, Lazarous Kambole, who came with high expectations, yet failed to make an impact at Amakhosi.
He only scored two league goals at Naturena during his stay.
What Mulenga said:
“When Kambole joined Kaizer Chiefs there were big expectations on him,” Mulenga told Touchline News.
“Players adapt differently to new environments. Kambole had just moved to a new country and joined one of the biggest clubs in African football, and it took him a long time to adapt to a new environment.
“The attitude of South African players is different and you need to be aware of that. South African players have a different attitude towards Zambian players and those things can be a big factor.
“When I first came to South Africa it took me a long time to adapt. I got to know the culture and mentality of South African people in general.
“People used to tease me on the way I talked [my accent]. I made friends with the late Dumisani Masilela – may his soul rest in peace – and George Maluleka who advised me to understand the culture first. They said once I did that I would fit in.
“When you speak English to some players they will respond in IsiZulu or SeSotho and as a foreign player that can affect you. I experienced that as well. James Chamanga, Collins Mbesuma and David Nkausu all experienced that.
“Maybe that is what happened with Kambole at Chiefs.”
Is Bimenyimana suffering the same fate?
Burundian international Kambole, arrived at Amakhosi with high expectations, despite having scored seven goals, more than half of them penalties. Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana hasn’t lived up to expectations.
When Amakhosi beat Richards Bay 1-0 on Saturday 04 March at King Zwelithini stadium, Bimenyimana was a subject of some jeering from Amakhosi fans, which is something that might have knocked his already low confidence levels to their lowest.
But there seems to be a deeper problem foreign players face in South Africa, as Mulenga said, and discrimination, whether direct or indirect is one of them.
When you arrive at a new club, your teammates should be the first people to make you feel comfortable, but when they speak to you in a language you don’t understand, it becomes a different story altogether.
Kambole, and lately, Bimenyimana, cannot become average players out of the blue, what the likes of Mulenga faced, could be one of his challenges.