Forward Richard Mbulu is a workaholic with pace but he must sort out his temperament, South Africa Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL)’s Baroka FC coach has said.
The former Mafco player has not had joy with the PSL strugglers as he is yet to score in 21 games since his switch from Mozambique champions Costa do Sol last May.
Englishman Dylan Kerr was quoted lamenting Mbulu’s attitude after he was red-carded last weekend in a PSL match following a dangerous tackle on Dean Hotto of Bidvest Wits who won the game 1-0.
“At the end, he has a red card. I don’t get to use him in the next two games. You know it’s stupid,” Far Post online website quoted Kerr after the match.
Kerr was not amused that Mbulu committed the offence having been introduced into the match in the second half.
The former Black Leopards mentor who replaced Zambian Wedson Nyirenda, the man who actually spotted Mbulu from Costa, questioned the Flames forward’s body language in training.
“That is why I pick my team. I see in training that negative attitude. You can’t play people that are not happy whether it is confidence or whether it is not being played, I don’t know.
“Mbulu has got pace but sometimes when you watch players at training you are looking if they are coming with a smile. You know a bit of buzz in them but Mbulu comes with his head down and you can’t go into a game if you are not feeling right mentally in practice,” Kerr said.
However, Baroka vice-captain Gerald Phiri Junior has backed his countryman saying it is just a matter of time before he finds his feet.
“He is doing great actually. He just needs a goal to boost his confidence,” Phiri said while avoiding commenting on Mbulu’s attitude.
Mbulu scores including hat-tricks in friendlies for Baroka but not yet in actual PSL matches. Baroka are placed 13th on the 16-member PSL log table with 20 points at par with bottom-placed AmaZulu.
Some five years ago, Mbulu signed for Dol Sol from Mafco after finishing as TNM Super League top scorer.
Mbulu, who is still a soldier, had a stint in Portugal with lower league side Sanjoanense but cut short his spell opting to re-join the Maputo giants.
Speaking after signing for Baroka, Mbulu told Sowetan newspaper of South Africa that a switch to the PSL was dreams come true.
“I started following the league a long time ago and I really like South African football. My ambition since then has been to play in the PSL … it was a dream for me.
“I played for Mafco in Malawi and then went to Mozambique. I also played in Portugal. I was there for six months‚ but my team in Mozambique was suffering and they called me back to go and play with them.
“My father was a footballer‚ but he did not go far with football because he was in the military. After I finished school I joined the military also. I am a soldier too. But I decided I wanted to concentrate on football,” Mbulu told www.sowetan.co.za.
Mbulu is among seven Malawians in the PSL after team-mate Phiri, Limbikani Mzava (HighlandsPark), Gabadinho Mhango (Orlando Pirates), Robert Ng’ambi (Black Leopards), Chembezi Denis and Khuda Muyaba (Polokwane City) whereas Chawanangwa Kawonga plays for National First Division side Sporting.
Phiri, Mzava, Mhango and now Denis enjoy regular first-team football whereas the rest feature from the substitutes’ bench. Muyaba is yet to make his Polokwane debut as he was waiting for a work permit.