“Knowledge Musona, who?” was the reaction of soccer pundits who criticised the Club for signing a 19 year-old player from Aces in Zimbabwe. However, Knowledge Musona, playing his first season in the top flight, proved to be one of the deadliest strikers in the league, making a debut for Zimbabwe early this year. Talking to kaizerchiefs.com on Thursday night, Musona said he is determined to work harder next season to ensure the club delivers on its promise to win the league.
How does it feel to play for a big team like Kaizer Chiefs?
Knowledge Musona: It is an honour to play for such a big team at an early age, as you get players who are at their peak or chasing retirement that never had an opportunity to don the Gold and Black. Playing for Chiefs also means a lot of responsibility, as the fans expect you to deliver all the time. There is huge pressure here to deliver results.
What goes through your mind when you hear fans singing your praises? Do you have a girlfriend and who is she?
Knowledge Musona: I feel great, as it means that I am contributing something to the success of the team. It is good for one to know that he is making difference in such a big team and is acknowledged by the fans for it. It also means that I must work harder in the next game not to disappoint the fans that believe in my teammates and me.
I have a girlfriend back home in Zimbabwe, but I will not give her name (smiling).
How did you feel when you started games from the bench, in particular in the first half of the season, when most of the fans believed that you were ready to deliver for the team?
Knowledge Musona: Eish that is difficult (taking a pause). I am happy that the coach finally gave me an opportunity to start games. Sitting on the bench for me was not a big deal, as it was for the first time for me to play football at top-flight level, but I must admit that at times I was not happy and wanted to play. However, sitting on the bench made me work harder and it proved, when I was finally given an opportunity to start games, that I was ready.
Are you going to spend the coming break back home or will you be around Johannesburg?
Knowledge Musona: I miss home, so I am definitely going home later this month. I miss my family back in Zimbabwe. I will only be back just in time for the pre-season.
Before joining Kaizer Chiefs, did you know anything about the Club?
Knowledge Musona: I grew up a Chiefs supporter! I followed players like Arthur Zwane when he had the Afros and the cornrows. I also like John ‘Shoes’ Mosheou. I heard people back home talking about Jabu Pule but I never really watched him. I remember sitting at home watching television and saying to myself, ‘one day I will play in South Africa’. I never imagined that a few years down the line I would be playing for Kaizer Chiefs. It is a dream come true!
I have realised that you tend to be selfish at times, by taking shots that are way-way off target, while the best option would have been to lay the ball to your mate in a good position…
Knowledge Musona: (Cutting in) Sometimes you have got to be selfish as a striker! It is part of my job to take responsibility and shoot when I see an opportunity. Strikers get confidence from shooting and if your shot goes wide, you always want to shoot again to hit the target. Even the best strikers in Europe are selfish sometimes…I agree with you, I say this at times when I watch games on the telly, that so and so should have passed, but when you are on the pitch, it is a different case altogether. Having said that, I have created a few opportunities for my teammates to score this season.
How have you found your first season in South Africa?
Trevor E. Oliphant
Knowledge Musona: It was tough at the beginning, I must be honest! I mean we were playing something like three games a week and I really felt for my teammates who played regularly at that time, as they did not get enough time to recover. I am hoping that next season will be much better for me as compared to this season. It was the first time for me to play professional football, but I am pleased with what I have achieved this season. The team won the Telkom Knockout and we all want to do better next season.
Can you promise us the Golden Boot award is coming home to Naturena next season?
(Kaizerchiefs.com note: Collins Mbesuma was the last player to win the Golden Boot award in Kaizer Chiefs back in 2004/2005, where he scored 35 goals)
Knowledge Musona: I do not want to make promises…I always do my best! It is important next season for me to better the number of goals I have scored this season (8). I will continue working hard in perfecting my finishing, prepare well during the pre-season and, when I come back, bang them in!
This is a promise I make to myself, to be the best and to win the award. I play for the team and if we win as the team I am equally happy, but as a striker it is my job to score goals.
How does it feel to score winning goals and how are you treated after the game?
Knowledge Musona: Personally it feels good to score a winner. I am not treated differently by the team members, though as I am expected to score goals as a striker. Like I said before, as a striker my job is to score. I do not expect different treatment when I score and I still expect to be treated well even if I do not score.
Are you comfortable playing as an attacking midfielder or as out and out striker? I see you doing better coming from either wings and bang all those important goals…
Knowledge Musona: You know growing up at Aces Academy (Zimbabwe), our coaches encouraged us to play everywhere, midfield, left, right and up front. As a result of this, I am comfortable playing anywhere from the midfield to up front, depending on how the coach wants to use me. Playing on either side also helped me to be comfortable using either foot, left or right. I am also comfortable as a striker to go back and chase the ball when we lose it. Modern players are required to do more than playing on their position on the field.
What do you do in your spare time and with whom?
Knowledge Musona: I spend most of my time alone at home watching television or just relaxing. If I am not alone I am chilling with my home boys Jimmy (Jambo) or Thomas (Sweswe), who are not staying far from where I stay.
A lot of foreign players come and impress in their debut season and most of them tend to fade away in their second season. What are you going to do differently to make sure that you stay at your best all the time?
Knowledge Musona: (Cutting in) Work harder than I did this season. I am going to make sure that I am consistent and start the season where I left off against SuperSport in the Nedbank Cup. This means I will need to be on a top shape when we come back for the pre-season.
Who do you model your game around?
Knowledge Musona: I am addicted to European football and I watch Manchester United and Real Madrid a lot as they are my favourite teams. I like Christiano Ronaldo and I always watch the way he finishes. I also like Fernando Torres of Liverpool. I must admit though, I do not like Liverpool at all.
I always feel great when I see you in the starting line up as I know that you are a marvel to watch. When you did not play against FC Cape Town I was very disappointed…worse we ended up losing the game.
Mugivhi M. S.
Knowledge Musona: I was angry, let alone disappointed, to watch us lose that game. We had done well beating big teams in the Telkom Knockout and we beat SuperSport United in the first round of Nedbank. To lose in that manner against a small team was disappointing, but these things happen in football. There is nothing we can do to change what happened…I blamed myself for sure as I was suspended for that game.
Who is the most difficult defender you have played against in the PSL?
Knowledge Musona: Yoh, it has to be that guy from Aces…I forgot his name. (Pauses for a while) Musasa! Every time we play against Aces -- the next morning it is always difficult as my ankles and my whole body is always sore.
Which nickname do you like most, The Silent Assassin or The Smiling Assassin?
Knowledge Musona: Definitely the Smiling Assassin!
(Kaizerchiefs.com gave Knowledge Musona the nickname after Egyptian national team striker, Mohammad Abo Terika)
Kaizerchiefs.com, together with Knowledge Musona, thanks all those who took time to send questions and words of encouragement. “I look forward to seeing all of you at the stadium next season,” said Musona.