By MICHAEL MIYOBA
STRIKER Justin Shonga says 34-year-old Stopilla Sunzu has inspired him to fight hard to reclaim his spot in the Chipolopolo squad.
Shonga, who went on to score 16 goals in 33 appearance for the Chipolopolo after making his debut in 2017 said he was too young to retire and give up his long dream of representing Zambia at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The former Nkwazi and Orlando Pirates FC striker who now features for Gagra FC in Georgia said watching his former roommate Sunzu, at 34 years old still giving his all for the national team inspired him to put his life in order and work hard to earn that national team call up.
“I wouldn’t retire now. I would give an example of Andre Ayew who is still playing. I used to watch that guy when I was still young and he is till playing so who am I to say that I will retire. I can’t retire. Not now. I just have to put myself together, keep on working hard because there is a time for everything and God’s time is the best if I get a call up from the national team I will go and give my best,” Shonga said.
“Watching Sunzu at the AFCON inspired me so much. It wasn’t painful, I’m so happy for him. Sunzu used to be my roommate at the national team, we would always share a room.
It was so inspiring that it made me realise that there is still a lot of time for me. Sunzu is older than me. He is a champion, he has won the AFCON before and he is still giving everything. He is playing as if he is still 19 or 20 years like he is just starting when he has done it before,” Shonga said.
Meanwhile, Shonga believes the Chipolopolo boys where unlucky to suffer an early exit from the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
Shonga said the Chipolopolo gave their all despite having been eliminated following two consecutive draws against Tanzania and Congo DR and defeat to Morocco.
“Most of the players were debutants, only Sunzu who won it for Zambia but the rest of the players were debutants but in life there is always a learning phase and I can say that the guys have learnt.
I haven’t been at the AFCON but they have been there and now they have the experience so the next time the AFCON qualifiers start, you will see the performance of the team because they have experienced it so they will want to perform differently to want to go back,” Shonga said.
Shonga also praised 19-year-old young midfielder Miguel Chaiwa whom he described as a marvel to watch after his impressive performance impressed at the AFCON.
Shonga tipped youngsters such as Chaiwa and those wishing to contribute to making Zambian football great to work hard and being focused to achieve their dreams.