Cape Town - The
current Zambian Player of the Season, Augustine Mulenga, put in a cameo
appearance for Orlando Pirates in their 3-1 victory over fellow rivals
Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
Pirates signed the 27-year-old back in January during the transfer
window but an injury delayed his initial appearance for the club.
Mulenga spoke to their official website about his performance and what the Soweto Derby meant for him as he made his debut.
"When I came to this club, I said I wanted to test myself and what
better way than to start that test in a Soweto Derby? All over the
world people have an interest in this game, and in Africa, ours is one
of the biggest," he said.
"I’m very happy with my contribution, and to have such a positive
start and good reaction from the crowd gives me confidence to keep
working hard to show myself even more."
The Zambian native sang his coaches and the medical team's praises
for getting him ready for the game and being granted the opportunity to
represent his club.
"I have to give thanks to the medical team and physios for getting up
to speed, and also importantly to the coaches for the opportunity and
the trust they showed me.
"When you watch the Derby from afar, you try to imagine what it's like for players.
"When you are part of the mix, you realise that the intensity of preparation is completely different to what you imagined.
"My coaches and teammates played a big role in making me mentally
ready for this game because it's not just about the result on the filed
but the energy and the mood of the country as a whole." Mulenga told the
Augustine, who came on in the second half as a replacement for fellow
countryman Justin Shonga, revealed that he used his time on the bench
to assess the opposition if he were to be called upon.
"As a new player in any game, more especially when you are on the bench, there are many things that go through your mind,
"I had to stay calm and focused because when people see a new name on
the list, there is an expectation that you must do well when you get
"Big games are crucial because they set the tone for how you will
continue going forward so I had to stay sharp in my reading of the game,
just in case I came on," the Zambian said.
The forward was eager and prepared for his debut and knew the role he
needed to play when he stepped up for the Buccaneers, and he reiterated
on the head coach's [Micho Sredojevic] advice.
"Before I came on, the coach told me that I needed to keep it simple and manage the game.
"My role was to help the team with killing off the game in the final
10 minutes and if I find a gap to create a scoring opportunity then its a
bonus for us.
"I know they also wanted me to get a run in an important game so that
I can take in the atmosphere even more. This was a big confidence boost
for me," Mulenga concluded.