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Mukamba welcomes Hunt


BIDVEST Wits midfielder Denver Mukamba hopes new coach Gavin Hunt will give him game time as he seeks to cement his place at the South African outfit.


The former Dynamos midfielder has experienced some highs and lows in his football career.

A lot had been expected from Mukamba after he was voted the 2012 Castle Lager Footballer of the Year back home when he helped Dynamos to a league and cup double in a memorable season in which he scored 11 times.

But the Zimbabwe international struggled in the second half of the South African season under coach Clive Barker. He was an unused substitute in most of the matches and last played when he came on as a substitute in a 0-0 draw against Supersport last month.

The former Dynamos midfielder, who is now back in the country on off-season break, spoke to NewsDay Sport yesterday about the highs and lows of life as a footballer.

“Of course everyone wants to play all the time, but when you are new in a set up sometimes you need time to settle,” said the 21-year-old.

“I didn’t get much game time and the team was playing well when I arrived. It was always going to be difficult for me to just walk into the team. But I know there were a lot of expectations after my performances at Dynamos.

“I needed time to settle and work hard. We got along very well with coach Clive Barker. There were no issues at all. It didn’t really affect me because I knew I would get my chance,” he said.

Mukamba also spoke about new boss Hunt.

“We will be under a new coach (Gavin Hunt) who is joining from SuperSport United. We are starting pre-season training on June 24. Since we will be starting the season together as a team, I hope to get game time. I will continue to work hard and what I know for sure is that my time will come,” added Mukamba.

Barker also rated Mukamba highly even though he lacked the guts to give him a starting role in the team. He suggested Mukamba, who has been playing on the right wing in all his substitute appearances, could become a better player if he were to play as a second striker.

“At the moment he (Mukamba) still has to answer the question of being able to play consistently,” Barker was quoted saying.

“He has a terrific shot, but he hasn’t quite gelled into the team exactly the way we want him to play. I think it will be better for him to play in behind the striker because that is where I think he is better making those diagonal runs left and right. When he is up there doing it that is when we will see the right Denver.

“At the moment we are just trying to manipulate the situation,” said Barker.

Mukamba is expected to lead Zimbabwe in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt in Harare next weekend.

Klaus Dieter Pagels’ men lost 1-2 to Egypt in Alexandria on March 26- a result which all but ended their slim hopes of qualifying for the global soccer show case.

Although Pagels will be looking to build a strong team to qualify for the 2015 African Nations Cup finals, he will be eager to avenge the defeat as his charges go into camp in preparation for the match on Monday.

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