The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
FORMER Bulawayo City striker, Toto Banda is now plying his trade at in the Democratic Republic of Congo after moving to Ligue 1 side, FC St Eloi Lupopo in January.
Following the expiry of his contract at City, Banda linked up with Zambian agent, Joe Masesa who processed the move to the team, which coincidentally is also home to eccentric forward, Roderick Mutuma and Julius Dauda.
Banda (26) said after liaising with Masesa he went for trials last year following the end of the local season and landed the contract at the beginning of the year.
He signed a one year contract.
“My contract with Bulawayo City ran out and I was introduced to Masesa and he is the one who made the move possible for me.
“It was my first attempt to land a move outside the country and I’m hoping this will be the start of greater things to come for my career. The club had offered me a two year contract but I needed to see the conditions before committing myself to a longer period so I opted for a one year stay,” he said.
Banda featured in City’s losing cause despite coming to the party with several goals that however counted for naught as the Bulawayo City Council-owned side was relegated from the Premiership.
The striker said he was still adjusting to life in a different league and has so far featured in four matches and provided three assists.
He said he is hopeful of finding the back of the net soon.
“I’m settling well although it has been a difficult start because I found the season halfway but I am fitting in well and in the four games I have played I have managed to come up three assists. As time goes I believe I will be able to score goals.
“Another barrier was the language factor, this side they speak Swahili, French and Lingala although they understand a bit of English but it’s not enough to communicate. Being a foreigner you need a strong heart and to work harder. I have managed to pick up a few words of the local language and we can communicate especially in the field of play,” said the former How Mine player.
Banda revealed they also had to deal with acceptance from local players who initially did not warm up to them but were slowly getting round to accommodating them and understanding they are all working for the good of the team.
He said having compatriots from home in the form of Dauda and has brought some comfort. FC St Eloi Lupopo is on position seven in Congo’s top flight league with 22 games having been played in the 16-team league.