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Tanzania prodigy Msengi relishes comparisons with Jali

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Ally Msengi, Stellenbosch Football Club and Tanzanian international
Ally Msengi, Stellenbosch Football Club and Tanzanian international

by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – AFTER his coach drew comparisons between Ally Msengi and South African midfield star Andile Jali, the Tanzanian teenager is eager for the restart of the Absa Premiership so he can showcase his talent.

Msengi’s introduction to South African football has been everything but smooth.

After he impressed Stellenbosch in a trial in November, he could only wait until January to sign, having turned 18 the previous month.

His work permit took a while to come through and he eventually had to wait until March for his debut, which came against none other than reigning champions, Mamelodi Sundowns at Athlone Stadium.

It was a baptism of fire.

The defensive midfielder was as caught in possession for the only goal of the match. It condemned his team to the loss as Jali and co. returned to Pretoria with maximum points.

As it turned out, that was the last match before the coronavirus (COVID-19) brought the season to an abrupt halt, denying the teenager an opportunity to showcase the potential that has coach Steve Barker raving that it reminded him of a younger Jali.

“Yes I know him (Jali),” Msengi said of the Sundowns player that starred for Barker at the University of Pretoria.

“He has been good for many years. Being compared to him is a good sign for me. I have to keep pushing to get there (Jali’s pedigree) or more.”

The highly-rated Msengi was speaking to CAJ News Africa following a glimmer of hope the local league would resume after teams were allowed to resume training.

“I think this is my opportunity to show people what I got. I know it’s not easy as a young man to play against experienced players but I will try my best to become better and better,” he said.

Born in the northern district of Nyamagana in the East African country, Msengi said he was now familiar with his new surroundings and coping under the lockdown.

“At the beginning it was tough but now it is getting better. At least we can go out to train.”

“I was so disappointed (with league suspension) but it was difficult to continue with games during that time for our sake and our beloved ones. So I had no choice but to accept the situation and to fight against this pandemic

He might have played a single game here but Msengi is already excited at the level of the game in South Africa, compared to Tanzania, where he starred for Kinondoni Municipal Council.

While he has drawn comparisons with Jali, he draws inspiration from English-based countryman, Mbwana Samata, of Aston Villa.

“I’m happy for him to be there. I think he is opening doors for us. Actually, Europe is the target for me. Hopefully, I will be there in next few years,” Msengi said.

As South Africa experiences the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and the Western Cape being the epicentre, the youngster has to be in constant communication with family back in Tanzania.

“It’s easy for me to communicate with them through WhatsApp,” Msengi assured.

– CAJ News