Football world mourns passing of former Bucs striker Justin Shonga

Justin Shonga passed away on Sunday after a short illness. | BackpagePix

Justin Shonga passed away on Sunday after a short illness. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 2, 2024


Smiso Msomi

Tributes are expected to keep pouring in for ex-Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga, who sadly passed away at the age of 27, after a short illness.

According to the Zambian Football Association, Shonga lost his battle with illness in his native of Zambia on Sunday evening.

“Former Chipolopolo forward Justin Shonga has died, Zambia Police deputy spokesperson Dan Mwale has confirmed in an interview with the FAZ Media team. Mwale said Shonga died at Sikanze Police Hospital after a short illness. More details will be availed in due course,” the statement read.

The striker had been on the books of Saudi Arabian side Najran SC in the country’s second division at the time of his death.

Shonga made 70 appearances in the black and white of Pirates, registering 16 goals and providing 16 assists under coach Milutin Srejodevic. The club passed on its condolences to those close to Shonga.

“Orlando Pirates is devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, Justin Shonga. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends,” the club expressed.

Club captain and former teammate Innocent Maela added: “Devastating news. Rest in peace, my brother. Top player, Justin Shonga.”

Shonga spent three years at the Sea Robbers where he struggled for consistency after being signed from Zambian Super League side Nkwazi FC in 2017. After falling out of favour, he joined Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila in October 2020 in search of regular game time.

His spell at Limpopo-based TTM (who had acquired the status of Bidvest Wits) only lasted three months before he jetted off for the Mother City as Cape Town City came calling. The Citizens have also expressed their sorrow at their former striker’s death.

“We are saddened to hear about the passing of former Citizen Justin Shonga. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family,” the club wrote in a statement.

He failed to make an impact at City and left the club in October 2021, before signing for Egyptian giants Ismaily SC.

His stint in Egypt was also brief and he returned to South Africa in January 2022, this time in the colours of Sekhukhune United, but they parted ways six months later.

Shonga popped up at Nkwazi FC once again in September 2022 before he jetted off to Georgia where joined FC Gagra in July last year, before swapping their colours for those of Najra in Saudi Arabia.

Shonga represented his beloved Chipolopolo 15 times after making his debut in 2017 and scored seven goals for the Zambian national team.