29 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Abbas Excels At Leopards

Warriors fringe player Brian Abbas Amidu might not have made the kind of impact he had hoped for when he broke into the South African Premiership after signing for Kaizer Chiefs, but the former Aces Youth Academy forward has revived his game at modest outfit Black Leopards.

Amidu was traded to Leopards in a swap deal that brought fellow countryman and seasoned striker Kingston Nkhatha to Chiefs but as Amidu told top selling South African soccer magazine Kick Off, he has no regrets at having left Amakhosi as he has been enjoying his game at Lidhoda Duva where Sunday "Mhofu" Chidzambwa is the technical director.

In the excerpt of his interview with Kick Off below, Amidu spoke of his stint at Chiefs where, just like Simba Sithole at Mamelodi Sundowns, he did not get a chance to kick the ball but has flourished at Leopards.

Sithole has also rediscovered his touch back home with Dynamos and forced himself back in the reckoning with some South Africa clubs reportedly chasing after his signature again.

But for Amidu the swap deal between Chiefs and Leopards opened new avenues for him and he could soon follow the path that his former Aces Youth Academy teammates Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat travelled with Musona being a hit with Chiefs while Billiat became a star at Ajax Cape Town.

JOHANNESBURG -- BRIAN Amidu arrived in South Africa in January this year with strong credentials.

He had been named as one of Zimbabwe's best 11 players and performed well enough at police outfit Black Mambas to catch the eye of Kaizer Chiefs, a team well known for importing talented Zimbabweans.

But the excitement of earning a three-year contract with one of the country's biggest clubs was not to last.

By the end of the 2011/12 season, Amidu had not seen any action and was feeling the frustration.

"The problem that I faced at Chiefs was that I picked up an injury at a time when I was getting used to the system, and when I had recovered it was already late in the season and I couldn't break into the team," the 22-year-old says.

His fortunes were soon to change -- as part of a swap deal to get his countryman Nkhatha to Naturena, Amidu left for Black Leopards.

And ever since, he has shown the sort of form that first brought him to South Africa.

Three goals in seven matches (at the time of going to print) -- including a half-volley into the top cornet against his former employers -- have made him the club's second most efficient in front of goal with fellow striker Rodney Ramagalela leading the way with four goals.

And more than just scoring, Amidu is doing so with some aplomb -- a thunderbolt against Bloemfontein Celtic set up Leopards' season-opening win, and his classy turn-and-strike against SuperSport United helped his team to earn a point.

"My time at Chiefs was really of use, as I managed to pick up a lot of things that I am now putting into use at Leopards. I have no regrets about my time at Chiefs . . . maybe that was the journey that my career first had to take before I could get to where I am now," he says.

Amidu also paid tribute to Chidzambwa adding that having a coach that understood him and his background well really eased his transition into Premiership football.

"Playing under Mdara Mhofu (Sunday Chidzambwa, who has since been replaced by Ian Palmer) made my settling into the team less difficult because he understands me very well -- he also coached my father during his playing days back home.

"So I want to settle as quickly as possible. I have a duty to bring a smile to the faces of all those that belong to Leopards and I want to keep doing what I am employed to do here.

"What matters is that we have to improve - last season the team was flirting with relegation, so this season we have to make sure we step up and aim as high as possible.

"We really need to show we can fight and return all the blows that everyone throws at us, instead of being punching bags," Amidu said.

Amidu said he was not yet looking a self glory arguing that personal achievements are secondary.

"Once the team is doing well and I am playing. I know everything will fall into place. As an offensive player I must score goals but I am not stressing about how many I will eventually score, as long as my contribution is vital towards the success of the team.

"Remember, I am just a few games old in the PSL so all I need is the chance to play and show who I am," Amidu said.

Under Rahman Gumbo's tenure with the Warriors, Amidu often received call-ups to the senior side but could only settle for the fringe player's tag as he hardly made the team.

Amidu will now be hoping that new coach Klaus Dieter Pagels will have a different view and give him a chance to shine for the Warriors in the same way that he has so far shone for Leopards.

The striker who hails from the same neighbourhood -- Glen Norah -- with Tinashe Nengomasha and was a groomsman at the veteran midfielder's wedding last December will also be hoping for the kind of lengthy stay at the top of game in the same manner that the "General" has featured in the South African Premiership for two decades. -- Sports Reporter/Kick Off.

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