Zungu: I want to play Champions League football

Bafana Bafana's Bongani Zungu

Bafana Bafana midfielder Bongani Zungu has spoken out about the reported vast European interest in him, saying that he would like to play Champions League football.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns man formed an integral part of Vitória Guimares’ fourth-placed finish in their campaign, subsequently garnering interest from the likes of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, but the 24-year-old is keen to play in the world’s most elite club competition.

“I have a lot of love for Guimares, it would not be easy for me to leave. They took me from nothing to make me a big player that I am today,” he told Safa.net.

“There has been a lot of talk about my departure from the club, it shows that if you know what you want and work hard, things happen. It’s nice to hear my name being linked to several clubs in Europe, it shows that I am doing something right.

“I have always wanted to play Champions League, if a team comes with a good offer and they play Champions League then what more do I want. I have always been a fighter and a winner so that’s where I will go.

“That’s always been my dream – and my family will tell you so. Just the other day my brother reminded me that I had said one day I will play in the Europa League, now that I have achieved that I want to move up so I can fulfil my dream of Champions League – and that’s a personal goal I will work hard to reach,” he added.

Zungu, who initially enjoyed a frustrating period at  Guimares due to injury and a lack of game-time, also revealed the difference between the standard of football in Portugal as opposed to South Africa,  in addition to heaping praise on former coach Pitso Mosimane.

“Football that side is different than in South Africa – it is quicker and players are technically and tactically good.

“They give the right pass at the right time. The vibe at the stadium is just awesome and it is always full, so with that you gain your confidence and you get to improve because you play with good players.

“If there is any person I must credit for my doing well in Portugal it is coach Pitso Mosimane. The coaching that he gave us at Sundowns prepared me mentally for Europe. Most of the things he coached back then at Sundowns I found them here, so I was in familiar territory thanks to coach Pitso, so a lot of credit must go to him.

“I believe he is way ahead of his time because thanks to him I was not lost with the coaching I got in Portugal. And he might not know this – he has really done a lot for me as a person and as a player, I owe him a lot of gratitude.

“But I have improved a lot since I got to Portugal. They have a lot of big name players and playing in front of about 70-thousand fans against Benfica, as a player you get to grow. I sometimes sit and watch my previous games at Sundowns, and I now see a quicker Bongani, tactically more aware, the technique has improved a lot and my heading abilities are way better than before,” he said.