Kwanda Mngonyama - Fact File

Mngonyama Working Hard To Prove His Worth

Deemed surplus to requirements by Mamelodi Sundowns this season and loaned to Maritzburg United, Kwanda Mngonyama has so far proven his doubters wrong with a string of excellent perfomances and a call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad. He talks about his Bafana selection and shares his thoughts on Downs`s decision to send him on loan again.

Personal Information
Full names: Kwandakwensizwa Ishamel Mngonyama
Date of birth: 25 September 1993
Place of birth: Durban
Nickname: Mshana
Position: defender
Jersey no: 5
Club: Maritzburg United
Previous Clubs: Westville United Academy, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits
Honours: 2012 Telkom knockout runner-up (with Downs), 2013 Nedbank cup runner-up with Wits, 13 SA U20 caps

Congratulations on another Preliminary Bafana call-up Mshana. 
I’m happy to be in the Bafana squad. As you know I’m still a young boy who still has a lot to learn, and here I am in the Bafana squad. It’s really an honour for me to be in the national team. I thank coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba for giving me this chance to represent my country at a young age. In life, everything has it’s own time and now it’s my time to be in the Bafana setup. One day it will be someone else’s time, so I have to enjoy this moment.

Take us back to when you received your first call-up for Bafana for the game against Congo in late September. How did that feel?
You don`t know how happy I was. What made this day so special was because it was my birthday 25 September, so you could say that it was a double celebration for me. My call-up also came as a surprise to me because, if you still remember, I had just joined Maritzburg United on loan from Sundowns.

Did it ever occur to you that at 21, you could be in the Bafana squad?
Honestly, I never expected to be in the Bafana squad so young. I thought after playing for Amajita (SA U20), I would graduate to the U23 but then I went straight to Bafana. I guess good things come to those who work hard and I think my hard work is paying off for me. But like I said, everything has it`s own time.

What`s your opinion on Shakes Mashaba`s youth selection?
I think it`s a good policy. Now everyone has a chance of playing for Bafana, regardless of his age. I think coach Shakes and his technical team need to be applauded for this bold move.

Generally, it`s been a good year for you so far. You were a regular at Wits and now you are also a regular at Maritzburg and have scored two goals for them so far.
I think it comes down to hard work because there`s nothing special that I`m doing except working hard. I was working hard at Wits and that`s why I was able to play regularly there, and when I joined Maritzburg I told myself that I was going to continue to work hard so that I could be a regular here as well. We still have a long season ahead of us, so I can`t celebrate my achievements at Maritzburg yet. I need to continue to work hard.

You seem to be enjoying your football under coach Steve Khompela. How are you finding working under him?
I enjoy playing under coach Steve Khompela. He talks to us all the time and gives us different challenges. He is a master tactician who always analyses his opponents well. As a result, we always plan our matches differently. I am learning a lot from him.

Do you think Khompela can lead the team to a top eight finish this season?
I think so. I think if we continue working together and sticking to what has been working well for us so far, we can surprise a lot of people this season. It`s not going to be easy, especially in the second half of the season, but I think we have a good team here that is capable of taking on any team in the league. We believe in ourselves and that we can do better, so I`m sure we will achieve our goals this season. At the end of the day, nothing is impossible in life, so a top eight finish is a definite possibility.

Following your selection for Bafana, Sundowns`s decision to loan you to Maritzburg seems rather odd, don`t you think?
I`m a Maritzburg United player now and my focus is on doing well for the team. Let Sundowns answer why they decided to loan me to the Team of choice, but I really don`t want to comment on this subject. My duty is to play football.

Thank you Mshana, all the best on your future.
Thank you man