Bongani Ndulula - Fact File

Looking To Make A Bigger Impact With Bafana And AmaZulu

Although his goalscoring exploits cannot yet be compared to those of the man after whom he is nicknamed, Bongani ‘Drogba’ Ndulula is a rare breed of South African striker who is considered a natural goalscorer, the 25-year-old player talks about the chance handed to him by Shakes Mashaba, and Usuthu’s poor start to the season.

Personal Information
Full names: Bongani Ndulula
Date of birth: 29 November 1989
Place of birth: Aliwal North, Eastern Cape
Nickname: Drogba
Position: striker
Jersey no: 9
Club: AmaZulu
Previous clubs: Young Stars, Blackburn Rovers, Bloemfontein Celtic, Orlando Pirates

Honours: 2010 MTN8 winner, 2011 MTN8 winner, 2011 Nedbank Cup winner, 2011 Carling Black Label cup winner, 2011/12 PSL winner, 2012 Carling Black Label winner (all with Pirates).

Hola Drogba. It must be a great feeling to finally be a Bafana Bafana player, having previously played for South Africa junior teams.
Ja, as you know, every player is excited when he gets the chance to represent his country and I am no different. To be honest with you, I was very surprised when Shakes Mashaba announced my name as part of the squad the first time, but I am one person who believes that everything has its own time. I think it’s my time to be in the national team right now.

Some felt your recent call-ups were not deserved, as you have not been hitting the back of the net regularly at club level.
No, people will always talk, whether you are doing well or not. You don`t have to listen to them too much.

One can imagine the pressure that comes with wearing the national team jersey.
Yes, you are right. But the pressure is always there, wherever you play. At national level it’s way more because you are representing the country, not just a certain section of the supporters. As long as you have the support of your teammates and the technical team. It’s been a good experience for me so far.

What do you think the coach sees in you to believe that you can deliver the goods?
The coach and I know each other from the national U23 side, where I was banging goals. Maybe that’s why he thought about giving me a chance. Some people might feel I don`t deserve this opportunity, but people will always talk whatever you do. Every coach is different and they don`t have the same coaching styles. What I like about Shakes is that he knows how to talk to the players and man-manage them.

Is that the major difference between Mashaba and the other coaches you have worked under?
No, they are the same. All the coaches I have played under were free around their players. When a coach is free around their players, it gives his player’s confidence and everything goes well.

South Africa is suffering from a well-documented goalscoring problem. Do you believe you could be the long-term solution?
I hope so, but that has to start at club level. I am hoping that from now on I will start scoring goals on a regular basis for AmaZulu. Every striker experiences that period when he is not scoring and I think that’s what has been happening to me. Sometimes it does affect your confidence a little bit, but you just need to work hard and things get better. When you start scoring goals, people will stop talking too much and they will be happy that you are scoring. But you must never want to prove people wrong.

You scored 15 goals in 14 games for the U23’s, which is a joint record you share with Siyabonga Nomvete. Why do you think it’s taken you so long to graduate to the senior national team?
That’s an interesting question. Like I told you, maybe it wasn`t my time to play for Bafana and now is my time to play in the national team. God works in his own ways and he has everything planned out for us. I must say that I`m not really satisfied with my progress since those days, but what can I say? These things happen in life. Every player wishes to go and play overseas and I`m disappointed I have not moved there, since there were European clubs interested in me when I was at Orlando Pirates but I couldn`t just leave while I had a contract with Pirates.
I don`t know what happened, but that`s in the past and there is still a chance for me to fulfil my European dream, as long I continue to do well.

There are rumours that Kaizer Chiefs is looking to secure your services to bolster their striking department.
I read about it in the papers and I just treated it as a rumour. I`m still an AmaZulu player. All I know is that I`m playing for Usuthu and that`s where my focus is.

How do you feel about Chiefs’ interest in you, if it’s true?
If it`s true it means there is something special I`m doing, but like I said, I`m focusing on my current team.

Would you be willing to join Chiefs if Usuthu let you go?
Yes, you know how football goes sometimes - you can never say no. It will depend on a lot of things. If they really want me, and if they don`t want to release me. If they agree to let me go, then so be it.

Thanks and all the best this season.
Thanks bro, to AmaZulu supporters, we know that we haven`t had the best of starts, but please don’t give up on us.