Shalulile started as a defender – LombardThomas Kwenaite
By Andile Dladla & Mandla Dladla
Tiberius Lombard has been around the block and back again and prides himself of been one of the few individuals that have represented the Namibian national team at all age categories.
“I arrived in Zambia back in 2018 and signed for one of the country’s top clubs – Lusaka Dynamos – not to be confused with Power Dynamos. And I played there for the 2018/19 season before crossing floors to join my current employers – Zanaco FC.
“Zanaco is a championship side and a lot is expected from us. The team is expected to win silverware and to compete in Pan-African club competitions like the CAF Champions League or Confederation Cup.
Lombard can never forget the experience of playing in the CAF Confederation Cup where they were eliminated in the quarter-final. But if anything, the tournament gave the team and individuals players a lot of exposure.
The Zambian MTN Super League might not be on equal footing to the South African DStv Premiership. But Lombard is satisfied that it is increasingly making inroads to be counted among the top professionally run in the continent.
What has added more stature and prestige to the Zambian league is their partnership with Multichoice which broadcast their Premier League matches live.
“What I enjoy about the Zambian league is that it has given some of us opportunities and a lot of exposure. It is a bit physical and the intensity is very high but overall the level of football is extremely good.”
Lombard confessed that the Namibian Mamelodi Sundowns striker Peter Shalulile is a boy he has known from childhood. And he recalls that in their youth, he used to call Shalulile “TS Mabena” while adding that the South African Footballer of the Year and “Player’s Player of the Year started his football career as a fullback.
“Peter started out as a left back and was then converted to a left winger and eventually attacking midfielder or a false number nine. However, his technical managers at Highlands Park converted him into a full blown striker and he has thrived in the new position.
“When he trekked from Namibia to Highlands Park, a lot of people doubted that he would succeed, but he has proved them wrong. He’s had a standout year at Sundown’s where his work rate and goals helped the perennial champions to their 11th title since the advent of premiership football in SA.”
Representing the Namibian national team at all levels has meant that he has been away on national duty or would be in camp with his team.
With the 20th edition of the COSAFA Cup taking place in Gqeberha, South Africa starting on July 5, Lombard has received yet another call-up and he is proud of his achievement while looking forward to the upcoming regional tournament.
“It is a big tournament and the last time I played was in 2018. It is a good platform that offers many players a platform to shine and be scouted by overseas teams.
“I remember the first time I featured in the tournament, there was a guy called Knowledge Musona (Zimbabwe) who would go on to be the top goal scorer and thanks to the COSAFA Cup, he was signed by Kaizer Chiefs and eventually ended up in Germany.”
Zambia has been paired with Mozambique, Senegal and Zimbabwe in what many people describe as the “Group of Death!”