Justin Shonga death: What we know about former Orlando Pirates and Zambia striker

Justin Shonga death: What we know about former Orlando Pirates and Zambia striker

Festus Chuma 11:49 - 01.07.2024

African football mourns former Orlando Pirates striker Justin Shonga who died aged 27 in his native Zambia.

Tributes have been flowing in from across the football world following the untimely death of former Zambia international Justin Shonga.

The 27-year-old striker passed away on Sunday at Sikanze Police Hospital after battling a short, undisclosed illness.

Born in Chipata, Shonga's journey into the limelight began earnestly at the 2017 COSAFA Cup held in the North West Province.

His remarkable performance, scoring three goals, propelled Zambia to the final, though they eventually succumbed to Zimbabwe.

His prowess on the field did not go unnoticed leading to a pivotal career move when he was signed by the South African club, Orlando Pirates, from Nkwazi in Zambia.

While at Pirates Shonga's impact was immediate and profound as over his three-year stint he netted 10 goals and provided nine assists in 56 Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches.

His contributions were crucial in helping the team secure second-place finishes in the league twice during his tenure.

After his successful period with Orlando Pirates, Shonga continued to expand his horizons, playing for Cape Town City, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, and Sekhukhune United in the PSL.

His career also saw him venturing abroad with stints in Egypt, Georgia, and most recently, Saudi Arabia, where he joined Najran in the Second Division in February of this year.

The news of his death has resonated deeply within the football community.

The president of the Zambia Football Association, Andrew Kamanga expressed his grief.

"On behalf of my executive committee and the entire football family, I wish to convey my heartfelt sympathies to the Shonga family over the death of Justin. Everyone in Zambian football knows what Shonga did for the game and we will celebrate his contribution as we mourn him," he said.

His former team, Orlando Pirates, also shared their condolences through social media.

"Orlando Pirates Football Club is devastated to learn of the passing of our former player, @Justin Shonga. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. Rest in Peace #JustinShonga," the club tweeted.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has not remained silent during this time of mourning. CAF President Dr. Patrice Motsepe relayed his condolences.

"CAF President, Dr Patrice Motsepe conveys heartfelt condolences to the family of Justin Shonga, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), as well as the entire Zambian Football Family. May Justin Shonga's soul rest in eternal peace," the statement read.

The football world is mourning the loss of a promising talent and details about Shonga's illness remain scant.

The sudden nature of his death has left many questions unanswered with the football community hoping for more information in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the legacy of Justin Shonga both as a player and as a person, will undoubtedly be remembered and celebrated not just in Zambia but across the football world.