Show your worth!

The Zambian government has, meanwhile, challenged Mbesuma to prove critics wrong, who claim that he failed to impress at Portsmouth.

Sports minister, George Chulumanda, noted that Mbesuma’s career has been “clouded by criticism” that he failed to “carry” the mantle as one of Africa’s prolific strikers, a notion the 22 year-old burly striker needed to overcome at his new club.

Chulumanda said although the Zambian government was impressed with the turn of events, Mbesuma should prove that the reports that his performances in the United Kingdom were below par, were not true.

“It’s a good move for Mbesuma and his manager to break into the Portuguese league now, but, it’s important that he proves his critics wrong,” Chulumanda told The Southern Times in Lusaka last weekend.

“He is young and a good player with potential to make a name at international level like Kalusha Bwalya, Charles Musonda and several other Zambian players, but it starts with him and ends with him,” he said.

Chulumanda urged Mbesuma to maintain discipline if he was to make a mark in the Portuguese league, arguing that players enjoying international fame had concentrated on building their careers while playing at foreign clubs.

He regretted that some of the Zambian players plying their trade in South Africa had fallen out of favour with their clubs, noting that “some of the boys were failing to hold the little fame they gain after breaking into the soccer limelight”.

“We have been disappointed in recent months because some of our boys who have gone into professional football are failing to hold their fame barely a few months after breaking into the soccer limelight,” said Chulumanda. Recently, Portsmouth were reported as having offloaded Mbesuma for allegedly failing to make the mark and lacking discipline.

Sources close to the club had indicated that Portsmouth were demanding more than US$1,5 million as part of the refund for the purse money paid for the player from Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa.

Mbesuma was forced to return home and rejoin his childhood club, Roan United, a Second Division club based in a mining town, Luanshya, about 370km from the Zambian capital Lusaka.

Mbesuma was one of the senior players recently called into camp to prepare for the 10th mini-Cosafa tournament by Zambia’s stand-in-coach Patrick Phiri, but was forced to abandon the stint after being recalled by Portsmouth for pre-season training in UK.

The burly striker, recently reported to have attracted the attention of another South African side, Orlando Pirates, has joined Maritimo together with 27-year-old Argentinian forward Martin Prest, who had stints in Scotland and Italy’s Serie D.

The former Roan United and Kaizer Chiefs striker shot to stardom in the South African Castle Premiership during the 2004/2005 season when he netted 35 goals. Maritimo are currently10th in the 18-team league with 44 points from 34 games.

July 2006
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