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TTM insist troubled Masibusane Zongo is still 'PSL material' and deserves another chance

Masibusane Zongo (R) pose for a photograph with a Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC official after he signed for the GladAfrica Championship.
Masibusane Zongo (R) pose for a photograph with a Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC official after he signed for the GladAfrica Championship.
Image: Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC/Twitter

Gifted but wayward winger Masibusane Zongo is still “PSL material” and deserves another chance at the highest level‚ says Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC (TTM) chief executive Sello Chokoe.

Eyebrows were raised after TTM signed 29-year-old Zongo on a short-term contract this week as the player has a series of well-documented off-field disciplinary issues that have derailed his once promising football career.

“We have given him a six month contract and it is an opportunity for him‚” Chokoe told SowetanLIVE on Thursday‚ insisting that the player is now in an environment where he can change his disciplinary problems and off-the-field shenanigans.

Chokoe is hoping that the tranquil and laid-back environment in the Limpopo province will rub off on Zongo and the star winger will grab the opportunity to revive his career far away from the bright lights of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Look‚ the environment in Venda is different from say the environment in your Johannesburg or Durban‚” Chokoe told SowetanLIVE.

“It’s not a busy place.

"Limpopo is quite a peaceful province.

"It doesn’t’ have a lot of factors that can make a player to lose focus.

"We are hoping that by being in Venda he will be able to pick up.

“I’m hoping that he will be on the straight and narrow.

"Football is a short career and I have made him fully aware of that‚” said Chokoe.

Zongo has turned out for eight different clubs‚ including Botswana’s Extension Gunners‚ since coming through the development ranks at SuperSport United in 2008.

He has also worn the colours of Platinum Stars‚ Chippa United‚ Bidvest Wits and Vasco Da Gama (both on loan) but has never seen through a contract in his more than a decade career as a professional footballer.

But Chokoe believes the Mthatha-born dribbling wizard deserves yet another chance and he said the Thohoyandou-based outfit is a perfect fit for him.

“Look‚ a person makes mistakes and they realize later that they have messed up‚ that’s just life.”

TTM are eighth on the 16-team standings in the second division Championship with 23 points at the halfway stage.

They are nine points behind leaders Ajax Cape Town and three points off a playoff spot for promotion to the top flight as they head to their home match against second-from-bottom Royal Eagles on Saturday.

Chokoe said it would be up to newly appointed coach Vladislav Heric to decide whether to include Zongo in the match-day squad or not for the visit of the Pietermaritzburg-based club.

Having missed out on promotion in the playoffs last season‚ Chokoe said Zongo’s arrival will hopefully help them go one step better.

“If he gets back to his best‚ and at the end of the season if we are not promoted‚ he can attract the attention of other teams in the PSL because they would have looked at how well he has conducted himself during his time with us here.”

Chokoe said Zongo is still a “PSL material” and must view the TTM move as a glorious opportunity to revive his career.

“For him at his age‚ it is not too late.

"Others‚ unfortunately‚ realize when it is too late to do something.

"For him he still has the legs and the body to play.”