Ex-Orlando Pirates midfielder Isaac Chansa is confident that countrymen Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga will maintain the good name of Zambians to have represented the club.
Chansa served the Buccaneers over two separate spells, with his second being most significant as having formed a crucial part of the double treble-winning squad in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
The Zambian football legend won six major trophies with the Buccaneers during his second spell with the club.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates were held by Power Dynamos in their second pre-season match in Zambia on Sunday.
The Buccaneers edged out Dynamos 1-0 in an encounter which was played at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
Justin Shonga, who is a Zambia international, scored the only goal of the game as the Buccaneers recorded their first victory in pre-season.
Bucs took on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants TP Mazembe in their first pre-season game on Thursday.
Pirates drew 0-0 with Mazembe in an international club friendly match which was played at Zambia senior national team’s home ground, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
The Buccaneers are expected to take on Forest Rangers in their third and final match in Zambia on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Pirates got a surprise visit from their former midfielder Isaac Chansa at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium where they are based in Ndola.
Chansa, who had two spells with Bucs and played an important role in helping the team win the 2010 PSL title, spoke to the club’s website about his visit to the stadium.
“I heard that the team was coming to Zambia for pre-season and when it was confirmed that they’d be in Ndola, I just had to come over and say hello. I live in Lusaka – which is 316 km away – but distance was not a factor in getting to greet the team. An important part of my life was spent at Pirates and as the saying goes: ‘once a Pirate, always a Pirate’. I will always be a Buccaneer,” he said.
“It feels great and it’s also an honour seeing the continued relationship. From the days of Denis Lota and now with my boys, Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga, the relationship continues to grow. I have been talking to them, Shonga and Mulenga, and encouraging them to continue working hard and contribute to the team. But overall its great for me to see the team and being welcomed like this shows that I’m still part of the family, even though many of the people I knew have since left,” he continued.
The former Zambia international further stated that the Buccaneers enjoy a huge following in the Southern African country and has backed his fellow countrymen in Shonga and Augustine Mulenga to succeed at Bucs.
“A lot of Zambians support Orlando Pirates. Since the time of Denis Lota who did very well and was a top goalscorer, to my contribution in the treble… they have been behind this team and continue to be. It has been a long time since I last wore a Pirates shirt but to this day, people still call me “Bhakaniya” even though I’ve played for other clubs here in Zambia. They remember what I did, and that’s special,” he added.
“To see the next generation in Shonga and Mulenga is heartwarming, more so when they are doing well for the Club. I believe in them and I believe in the Club too. I know that they will achieve greatness if they just keep focused and continue working hard on their dream,” Chansa said.
“I would like to think that they chose to be here because they looked at our previous success as Zambian players at Pirates, and also realized that this is a very professionally run Club with massive CAF aspirations. Together, they and the Club are a perfect fit because they want the same things. And hopefully they can inspire the next phase of Zambian stars to continue that legacy that we have with Pirates,” he explained.
Chansa encouraged Mulenga and Shonga to work hard in order to become Bucs legends.
“I read an article where Mulenga said that he wanted to emulate me. While that was encouraging, and even flattering, I told them both that they have talents which surpass what I did with the team. I told them to just follow their dreams and remember with everything they’re doing that they are professional footballers. Pirates is a big team and there is nowhere to hide because the platform you get here means that supporters will recognise you everywhere you go. I told them to always give their best and if they stay focused, they will do well because the possibilities are endless for them,” he explained.
The 34-year-old also reflected on the crucial goal he scored that handed Pirates the 2010/11 PSL title as they defeated Lamontville Golden Arrows 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium.
“It was a special time, a magical time, and I think as players we will always be grateful to have served the Club in that way. For me, it’s not so much about the goal, but about our generation as a whole. We did our part to add to the Club’s already rich history and culture of success. When I look at the team now and I see Happy Jele, it feels good knowing that he was part of that team which won the treble with us. The current crop will need his experience,” he explained.
In parting, Chansa paid tribute to The Ghost, and appealed to them ahead of what will be a testing season. The Buccaneers face the prospect of two additional tournaments in the form of the MTN8 and CAF Champions League.
“We would not have been able to do it (the treble) without our supporters. Pirates supporters are the most passionate and loyal supporters that I have ever come across and they will always be dear to me. I appeal to them to give the same kind of support to this current crop of players,” he said.
“These guys did well last season and obviously everybody is happy and expecting more of the players and the team in the upcoming season. The supporters need to be there to help them like they did with our generation. We will all be watching and supporting them. Even here in Zambia, we will be supporting in spirit,” he concluded.