Home SPORT Star African Football Player to Watch: Haji Mnoga

Star African Football Player to Watch: Haji Mnoga

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Portsmouth defender Haji Mnoga during the EFL Trophy match between Crawley Town and Portsmouth at The Broadfield Stadium, Crawley Crawley Town v Portsmouth, EFL Trophy.

Viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to seeing Tanzanian international Haji Mnoga in Carabao Cup action for lower league English side Gillingham next midweek.

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Mnoga is a 20-year-old English-born defender who is contracted to Portsmouth, but currently finds himself on loan at League Two club Gillingham. The Gills will face up to a tough task in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday 20 December when they play away to Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers for a round of 16 tie.

Mnoga, who made his senior Tanzania debut in a friendly against the Central African Republic earlier this year, will be hoping to feature at Molineux, having struggled for game time in his loan spell at Priestfield Stadium under manager Neil Harris.

This is a fourth loan spell for the player, who has also featured for Bognor Regis Town, Bromley and Weymouth. The match against Wolves could well be one of his last appearances for Gillingham, as he could possibly return to the South Coast early in 2023.

“Haji’s on a season-long loan with a call-back in January and for us it’s always to keep the lines of communication open,” said Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley. “Neil and I speak regularly, we get on very, very well and we both have the player’s best interests at heart

“But I totally understand why Haji is not playing. I think it’s fair and it’s up to Haji to try to force his way back into that team with the way that he trains.

“He’s had a difficult start at Gillingham. Unfortunately, he was sent off after 10 minutes on his debut. His second opportunity didn’t go as well as he would have liked – they were losing, they made a tactical substitution at half time and he hasn’t been able to force his way into the team since.

“Neil Harris is a brilliant manager, a very, very experienced manager across the divisions. I speak to Haji regularly and he’s in a good place and is very determined to fight his way back into the team, which is a good challenge for him.”

Mnoga has found himself in difficulties in a loan spell before, coming through a trying time at Bromley before thriving at Weymouth – and he will hope to repeat the feat either with or away from Gillingham in the back of 2022 and into the New Year.

“It was a roller coaster, up and down. I was contemplating whether I even wanted to play football any more, that was how bad I was feeling,” Mnoga said of his time at Bromley. “I wasn’t playing games, I felt really low. It just wasn’t a good time. That’s why I give myself credit for turning it around at Weymouth.”

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See Haji Mnoga in the following match live on SuperSport:

All times CAT

Tuesday 20 December

21:45: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Gillingham – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League and SuperSport Maximo 360

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