We’ll get onto the confirmed addition of Oostende’s Fashion Sakala in due course, but in this piece we want to look at the… frankly bewildering addition and exit of Amiens’ midfielder Bongani Zungu.
Now, none of this is personal as he demonstrated many times he’s a good egg and even defended our club and Glen Kamara against the disgraceful actions of Kudela, but of course, that doesn’t change how bizarre a signing he was.
We simply have no idea why our scouts were so interested in this guy, from Ligue 2, whose career was absolutely nothing to write home about.
Let’s be clear – the club did brilliantly taking him on loan on a try before you buy deal – Zungu had to impress and the only time he did was his second half debut against overwhelmed Hamilton where he had half an hour to make each pass.
But it’s the background of this one we’re stupefied by. He completely failed a medical, due to being simply unfit, but we kept our interest and to his credit he got the fitness back then passed said medical.
The baggage around this one was already looking weird.
But what did Zungu have to offer that we didn’t already have?
The answer is nothing. He’s tidy, and he did well in Ligue 1 in some big matches v quality opponents, but that side got relegated and Zungu was never going to be afforded the time and space in the SPL that he got in France.
And then of course the Covid breach didn’t exactly help his case…
Steven Gerrard clearly didn’t want this signing – it was another one of those players whose acquistions aren’t really down to what the boss wants, but is dictated by behind-the-scenes deals, marketing opportunities and club agreements.
Zungu is a big star in South Africa and the African continent and that probably lent more to this signing than anything else.
Gerrard did his part – gave him a few cameos and the occasional start, but this wasn’t a player he wanted or needed.
Think American sport – their ‘trades’ aren’t down to player choice, but ‘franchise’ tactics – a player goes where he’s generally told to and who will pay him handsomly for it.
It’s not always that different in football, despite the massively-increased player power.
And in Zungu’s case we got a player we didn’t want or need, and whose minutes reflected that.
His shining moment was bringing justice to that horrible night v Praha, and showing up Kudela for the racist thug he is – and he defended his team mates and his club with honour.
That’s what we’ll choose to remember.
Good luck Bongani.