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Harambee Stars striker battles witchcraft claims in Tanzania

Harambee Stars striker Mungai Kiongera is embroiled in sensational claims of being “bewitched” by a teammate at his Tanzanian club.

Kiongera formerly played for KCB and Gor Mahia in the Kenyan Premier League.

The striker has struggled to regain his form since rejoining Tanzanian club Simba SC last year and his close confidants say the player thinks the only explanation to his dwindling fortunes could be witchcraft.

CONFESSION

This confession was narrated to Tanzanian newspaper Mwanaspoti by Kiongera’s close friend.

He said: ” He (Kiongera) is very different from other players at Simba SC. I know several Simba fans are wondering why he is playing at such a low level. A majority do not believe in witchcraft, but he (Kiongera) has something in his heart.

“He encountered something (strange) while in camp one day being done to him by a teammate (name withheld). In fact that particular player is not popular within the team because players believe he has some unclear relationship with a senior club official.”

The confidant did not however substantiate his claims on what exactly happened.

‘LOST CONFIDENCE’

When Mwanaspoti contacted Kiongera, he conceded to having “lost confidence” in front of goal in the wake of several injuries.

“I normally get some clear cut chances when playing but then I cannot just convert them. I do strange things instead. Not scoring goals here has affected my confidence a great deal,” he said.

“It has gotten to the point where I cannot even do anything in training. I cannot understand this anymore. If my luck is with Simba then fine, if it is somewhere else than I do not know,” Kiongera said.

Simba SC team manager dismissed the claims of witchcraft within the team, but admitted that he had not yet received any complaints from Kiongera.

DIFFERENCES IN OPINION

“It isn’t easy to believe these witchcraft claims, you know everybody believes in his own faith. In any team, there is always differences in opinion. Abdi Banda and Hamis Kiiza, for example, had differences in opinion regarding their faith but we solved that. I have not received any complaints in regard to Kiongera,”

Kiongera’s two seasons at Simba have been punctuated by poor form and injuries.

The Harambee Stars forward injured his knee on his debut with the Tanzanian giants in a competitive match against Coastal Union, weeks after he was lured to Dar es Salaam by the club’s then coach Zdravko Logarusic.

He required extensive treatment in India to fully recover.

BAGGED GOALS

He was subsequently loaned back to KCB in the 2015 Kenyan Premier League from where he incidentally found his goal scoring touch and bagged 11 goals.

This prompted his parent club to recall him in December, where again incidentally, he is yet to score in seven appearances and has since picked up an injury.

Kiongera’s curious case fuels the myth of Kenyan players consistently under-performing in Tanzania, where most of them are lured by better pay.