Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
GHANAIAN players have flocked to the domestic Premiership football this season but not much has been said about the Bulawayo Chiefs tear-away winger, Wilson Mensah.
Mensah has been doing his business quietly but effectively with the Ninjas, as Bulawayo Chiefs are known.
From outright rejection by Harare giants CAPS United, Mensah has managed to transform himself and salvage his career abroad after moving from Ghana to Zimbabwe two years ago.
He has been a key player in Chiefs coach Nilton Terroso’s see-saw campaign after starting off with some cameos. The Portuguese coach rates him highly and has likened his type of play to that of the Manchester City and Algeria forward Riyad Mahrez.
“In terms of playing style and similarities I would say he is a Mahrez. Strong left foot, excellent dribbler in one versus one situations; likes to play wide right and come inside from left to right to finish with curling shots. (He) is quick,” said Terroso in his verdict.
Mensah arrived in Zimbabwe in 2020. His first port of call was CAPS United but the team saw no value in him and they could not give him an opportunity to play.
Makepekepe also did not register him with the Premier Soccer League and after feeling he had been reduced to a training aid, the 25-year-old negotiated for an exit in November last year and was warmly welcomed by Amakhosi.
He felt he had experienced all the difficulties at the Green Machine, at the time Covid-19 was also wreaking havoc in all facets of life, with football one of the hardest hit sports. Just like many of the football players in the region at the time, Mensah endured financial challenges at Makepekepe and felt he needed to move on.
And after playing bit parts for the first few games at Chiefs, he was handed his first start, ironically against Makepekepe on May 29. As fate would have it, he had a good outing and capped with a wonder goal that could be a contender for the goal of the season in the 2-0 win.
“I had a lot to prove against them,” said Mensah in a post-match interview.
“I arrived at CAPS United in February 2020 and they signed me in March the same year.
“Those were the days when Covid-19 was still wreaking havoc in the country and across the world. “Things were never good. Financially, it was a struggle and when football commenced, the team didn’t register me. It was so frustrating given I was under contract.
“I then got an agent last year who urged me to move to Bulawayo Chiefs. That’s how I transferred to this team in November last year and I was registered this year.
“I was given my starting berth against CAPS United. It was so special and I really needed to show them the stuff I am actually made of.
“For me, it was a very big game and then scoring in such a match made it even more special.”
Chiefs were back to winning ways at the weekend when they beat Tenax 2-0, to end a win-less streak of four games.
Giants Dynamos, who also have Ghanaians Emmanuel Paga, Sylvester Appiah and Martin Orfori, also rediscovered the winning formula with a 3-0 thrashing of Chicken Inn at Barbourfields on Saturday.
DeMbare reduced the gap between them and second-placed Chicken Inn to two points on the log standings.
Dynamos are third on 39 points while Chicken Inn have 41 and the Glamour Boys coach Tonderai Ndiraya was thrilled after collecting four points from the top teams, following last week’s draw with log leaders FC Platinum.
“We had played four games and in those games we failed to score so it was a very difficult phase for the team and the players. You could see that the confidence was slowly going away.
“But I am happy that the penalty shout, which I thought was a correct decision for Alex, really took the pressure off the team, especially after that goal.
“We were a bit nervous in the first half, obviously because of the stature of the team that we were playing against. They are a very good team. They are not where they are on the log standings by chance. They worked for it and that really puts them in the category of one of the best sides in the league.
“Coming here was really difficult, to be honest, mentally because we have had difficult games here. We have lost several times to Chicken Inn and given that background, mentally it was difficult for us to come and get maximum points.
“But we had the belief especially after what I can term the turning point, a very good match against FC Platinum,” said Ndiraya.
DeMbare’s win, however, worked in favour of FC Platinum, who extended their cushion at the top to six points following the 1-0 win over ZPC Kariba. Norman Mapeza’s men took their tally to 47 points, after 22 games.
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