The former Masandawana and Amakhosi hitman looks at what makes the Chipolopolo legend so special
Former Zambia international striker Collins Mbesuma heaps praise on his former national teammate and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, saying he is a true professional of the game.
The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winner with Chipolopolo is one of the longest-serving campaigners in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), with ‘Ntofontofo’ urging the current crop of Zambian players to learn a thing or two from the veteran keeper.
Although the former Free State Stars gloveman is playing second fiddle to Uganda’s Denis Onyango at Chloorkop, the 35-year-old remains a key figure for coach Pitso Mosimane whenever he is called to man the goalposts.
“He is a good example and when you look at him, he has been in the PSL for a long time and he’s been very professional,” Mbesuma told Goal.
“To be in the PSL for long as he has been with the likes of Free State Stars and now at Sundowns, it demands a lot of discipline and respect for the game and his job.
“There’s a lot the Zambian boys or players who can learn from him. One thing I can mention about him is that whenever he is called to play, he gives his best. You can sometimes forget that he is not a regular at Sundowns as he competes with Onyango.
“He plays like he is regular, that’s a good example of how a professional should conduct himself. He grabs his chance and his achievements are not by fluke. He remains a good example for many players, not just Zambians in the PSL.”
The soft-spoken keeper recently announced his plans after hanging up his gloves, saying he will launch an academy to groom young keepers in his country of birth.
As he is busy with his coaching badges, Mweene has been in the South African top-flight since July 2005 when he joined Ea Lla Koto and has been with the reigning PSL champions for seven seasons.
Despite being starved of regular game time, the former Kitwe United netminder has produced stellar displays when the Cranes skipper is not available.
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In addition, the former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates striker believes the fact that Mweene has lifted four PSL titles, two Telkom Knockout Cup and one Nedbank Cup trophy plus the Caf Champions League, as well as the Super Cup gold medals, are proof that professionalism is crucial for a footballer’s longevity.
Although he is one of the seasoned campaigners, Sundowns have signed Jody February from Ajax Cape Town and the availability of Reyaad Pieterse means he still has to work hard to impress ‘Jingles’.
As the 2019/20 PSL season is currently suspended owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Mweene will hope to help the Brazilians defend their title and collect his fifth league crown.