Justin Shonga is a wanted man in Portugal
DURBAN – Justin Shonga is a wanted man in Portugal but it is now up to Orlando Pirates to seal the deal with Primeira Liga club Maritimo, according to his agent Karabo Mathang.
“Yes, there is interest in Justin from Portugal,” said Mathang. “It is now for the two clubs to negotiate and try and find a transfer deal if there is one.”
The 23-year-old has struggled for game time this season, but his performances in national colours has attracted international interest.
“It would be unfair for me to say that (his dream is to go play in Europe) because he is still under contract and has an obligation with his employer,” Mathang said.
“Once that contract is fulfilled and honoured, we can then focus on things outside of that Orlando Pirates is a very good club to be employed by. Even if international teams are interested in his services, they must engage the team where he is employed. Until then, he will always be committed to his employer.”
Shonga joined the Sea Robbers with huge expectations last season. He has shown glimpses of his talent, but is yet to reach his full potential.
“Even if you have dreams, those are personal.
“There’s something beautiful about fulfilling that dream. I know his ambition and dreams and I’d prefer to keep that private,” Mathang said when pressed about Shonga’s dream to play in Europe.
Before the national lockdown, Shonga was down in the pecking order with Gabadinho Mhango leading the attack for the Buccaneers.
Shonga has, however, not been deflated by this situation.
“When you are at a club, you are a part of the team. It is not about the individuals, Mathang said.
“The coronavirus did affect everyone. Everyone has a fair opportunity now to fight for game time.
“I don’t think it was more of a concern prior to Covid-19, but it was something that he had to work on. He is a phenomenal player.
“Justin is an international player and respected footballer.
“When his time to play comes, he will deliver. It was important to respect the plans of the club at that time.
“He had to respect the process.
“It wasn’t a concern to him, but it was more of a challenge for him to take on.”
Shonga will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Marshall Munetsi, Kermit Erasmus, Andile Jali and Lyle Foster, who all left Pirates to ply their trade abroad in the past six years.