Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona has revealed why he had to leave the Belgian side Anderlecht this January and join another club in the same league, KSC Lokeren.
In mid-March, Knowledge Musona will lead out a Zimbabwe side which is one match away from reaching the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Zimbabwe just need to avoid defeat to Congo in their final qualification match in Group G in order to secure their place in Egypt in the summer.
Knowledge Musona will, of course, be key to that. The 28-year-old is the most experienced player in the squad with 33 caps to his name since making his debut for his country back in March 2010. Since then, the striker has been in lethal form for Zimbabwe, grabbing 21 goals in those 33 appearances.
It’s an impressive tally but not a surprising one for anyone who watched his breakout season for the Kaizer Chiefs back in 2010-11. Musona scored 15 goals in 28 Premier Soccer League games which attracted the attention of some of the biggest clubs in Europe. He spent some time in Germany before moving to the Belgian league where he really found his feet. Musona impressed during his four seasons for KV Oostende before transferring to the Belgian giants, Anderlecht in the summer of 2018.
It seemed like the perfect move for Musona but unfortunately, things haven’t worked out. Musona has made just eight appearances for Anderlecht his season with just three starts in the team and as he said in a January interview, moving on was inevitable.
“I had to leave Anderlecht this winter because it’s very hard to train and not play,” Musona told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
“It’s frustrating not to be in the team. And if you do not play, you do not have confidence. I do not think I failed at Anderlecht, I did not just get my chance.”
“People cannot judge me during my stay in Anderlecht because I have never been able to show myself. I hope that this loan will allow them to come to the conclusion that I can bring something to the team.”
Musona secured a season-long loan move to another side in the country, the struggling KSC Lokeren who currently sit bottom of the Belgian Pro League. He has had an immediate impact, scoring during Lokeren’s shock 2-1 win over third-placed Antwerp last weekend.
Lokeren are currently five points away from safety ahead of a trip to fourth-placed Standard Liege on Friday. The visitors are the huge 8/1 outsiders to win the match on Betway as of 12 February but who knows whether Musona could inspire another surprise victory? The forward has certainly started well at his new club but before his exit from Anderlecht, Musona had some criticism for his former manager, Hein Vanhaezebrouck.
“The fans did not even see the real Musona. Under the previous coach, I did not get enough chances to prove myself, it’s unfair to be judged and you have not played five games in a row right from the start, because that’s the only way to build confidence and get to understand each other better with your teammates.
“The coach did not plan with me. You have to ask him, I have to accept that, it was difficult to train and not to play games and frustrating that sometimes I was not in the selection.
“If I wanted to play, I had to leave the club, so I decided that, after the season, I’ll basically go back and they’ll have to decide if I have any future at Anderlecht.”
Vanhaezebrouck has since left the club with his replacement, Fred Rutten appointed in January. It’s a fresh start for Knowledge Musona as he tries to help his new side avoid relegation. The 28-year-old has gotten away from his disappointing time at RSC Anderlecht but has left the door open for a return.
The Zimbabwe national team will also feel some benefit from this. That crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualification game is just a few weeks away and they will need their captain to be fully fit and scoring goals. Victory in that match will award his side a place in Egypt for the 2019 AFCON this summer. Perhaps an in-form Musona could even help Zimbabwe reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in their history.