Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard got what he wanted when Ross Wilson signed Bongani Zungu from French Ligue 2 side Amiens on an initial loan deal with an option to buy before the close of play on transfer deadline day.
After impressing on his Premiership debut in the 8-0 victory over Hamilton Academical, Zungu showed his credentials once again with another strong performance earlier this week.
South Africa returned to winning ways after suffering a shock defeat to Zambia last month by beating Sao Tome and Principe 2-0. A goal from Percy Tau broke the deadlock after the break before the Rangers star came off the bench to secure the victory in the closing stages of the game with a well-timed header.
Coach Molefi Ntseki replaced Kamohelo Mokotjo with Zungu in the second half and he made an immediate impact, popping up in possession and marshalling the midfield. He then put the game to bed by heading home a corner kick from Keagan Dolly. Imbued with new belief, Bafana Bafana bounced back with what turned out to be a comfortable 2-0 win in the end.
Zungu has recently returned from a self-isolation period and has already been able to hit the ground running for his new club and for his country, having made his first-team debut after replacing Ryan Jack at half-time in the win at home against Hamilton.
Let’s face it, Rangers are blessed with a wealth of midfield options consisting of Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack, but if there’s one underlying weakness, it’s that Gerrard has lacked a genuine goal-scoring, box-to-box midfielder who can put the pressure on the opposition for some time. At least, that’s until Zungu arrived at Ibrox.
Only Arfield and Aribo have managed to score more than once in all competitions so far this season and the goals from the midfield have once again started to dry up, as Arfield has only scored one goal in the past six games, whilst Aribo has been shifted to the right-wing in recent weeks.
Once lauded as a “special” player by Vitoria de Guimaraes sporting director Flavio Meireles, Zungu played 21 games in Ligue 1 last season, whilst he made one clearance and more than one tackle per game, via WhoScored. Ultimately, it came to nothing, but the well-rounded, all-action powerhouse did enough to pique the Gers’ interest.
By comparison, Arfield only managed fewer than one clearance per game in the Scottish Premiership last term, as per WhoScored.
Steven Davis and Ryan Jack have performed admirably in recent weeks, so the 32-year-old may find himself nervously looking over his shoulder as the South African continues to stake a claim for a place in the starting line-up in the not too distant future. Zungu has scored 14 goals and supplied 9 assists in all competitions in his club career so far and Gers fans will be hoping he will be able to find the back of the net after the international break.