Bongani Ndulula - Fact File

AmaZulu’s Drogba Resurrecting His Career

Everyone knows about Bongani Ndulula’s ability in front of goal, he’s proved it with the National U23 side. But the Aliwal-North born striker found the going tough at Orlando Pirates, which perhaps explains why he grabbed the chance to join AmaZulu. Sabie Chili chats to “Drogba” as the player is affectionately known, about his ups and downs at Bucs, and his target for this season under Craig Roslee.

Personal Information
Full names:  Bongani Ndulula
Date of birth: 29 November 1989
Place of birth: Aliwal North, South Africa

Nickname: Drogba
Position: Striker
Jersey no: 9

Club: AmaZulu

Previous Clubs:
Blackburn Rovers (SA)
Bloemfontein Celtic
Orlando Pirates

Drogba, it`s no secret that you have been enjoying your game since joining AmaZulu from Orlando Pirates in January on a one-and-a -half year contract. What made the difference? 
You see when you play regularly, the confidence comes back. It`s the confidence that makes a player play well, along with hard work.

Was the confidence there at Pirates? 
No, it`s not like that. It`s just that I wasn`t playing, there is that thing…sometimes you don’t trust in your ability and you lack a bit of confidence. But those are some of the things that happen in football.

Why did you make this move?
No, like I heard from my business manager (Tim Sukazi) that AmaZulu FC were interested in  my services and, since I wanted to play, I saw this as a chance to resurrect my career. The team wasn`t in a good position in the league and I felt I could come here and help them. Some people might say I should have stayed at Pirates and fought for my place, but maybe it was time for me to leave Pirates. Let me just put it that way. That’s why I made the decision to join AmaZulu. It was my time to leave Pirates, you see? You can`t stay at one team forever, especially if you are not playing. If things don`t go your way, what must you do? You must also remember that Pirates was doing well just before I left and it wasn`t going to be easy for me to break into the starting line-up while there were players who were doing well in my position.

Why do you think things didn`t go your way there?
 No, I don`t know, I don`t want to lie, I really don`t know. Every player wants to play but, like I said to you, Pirates were doing well and I couldn`t just break into the starting line-up while the other players were doing well. As a team they didn`t win any trophies, but when I was there, they were doing well. It`s just that in football there is that time when you don`t play well and sometimes you play well. Towards the end of the season they were not playing well and I`m not saying they were losing, but they were drawing. That`s why they couldn`t win the league. They drew one game too many! It`s the same story with their strikers. They were scoring when I was there and when I left, they started to struggle, It’s was just one of those things.

Going to training knowing that you are not going to play must be every footballer`s worst pain.
You never know when you will get your chance. You can`t say you are not going to today. I always went to training with the mentality to fight for my place. The fact that I wasn`t playing motivated me to work harder. It was tough at times, but what can you do? There was nothing I could do. Like I said, when I was there and not playing, they were doing well and I can`t complain when the team is doing well. I was fortunate to play alongside top strikers like Bennie McCarthy and Collins Mbesuma. Playing with them in the same team means that you have to work hard and use every chance you get. It`s not easy to play all the time when you are competing with players of their quality. Bennie makes everything simple. He doesn`t just make things simple for himself, but also for the players that play with him. That`s why he was a top striker. Same with Mbesuma, although they have different qualities, I also played under different coaches and I enjoyed myself under every one of them. It`s just that I didn`t play much under some coaches, but that is all part of football.

Moving on, how have you found working under Craig Roslee?
I worked with the guy at Pirates and he`s a very good coach. When I arrived at AmaZulu he gave me that confidence. He`s the type of coach that is open with players and makes you believe in yourself as a player. There is no one better than you, but if you don`t tell yourself that no one will tell you. He told me about my weight problem when I arrived, although I thought there was nothing wrong, he knew my time is coming.

Before we let you go, any message to the Usuthu supporters?
I’d like to tell them to come to the stadium to support us the way they did last season and we will try to do better. We are really grateful for their support throughout the difficulties we experienced last season.

Drogba, thanks for your time and hope you will bang in more goals this season.
Thanks bro.