If only I had drunk less and worked a little harder; Clifford Mulenga talks about his downfall
Former Chipolopolo winger Clifford Mulenga says excessive beer drinking hindered him from reaching his full potential in his football career.
After bursting onto the scene, Mulenga’s career was full of promises and many thought he would play his football for a big club in Europe.
He featured for the U17 national team but his breakthrough came in 2007 when he and the likes of Fwayo Tembo, Rodger Kola, and Emmanuel Mayuka stormed the U20 AFCON in the Republic of the Congo, Zambia finished fourth and subsequently qualified for the World Cup in Canada.
He’s good performance continued at the U20 World Cup where Spain and Zambia qualified from Group B to the knockout stage at the expense of Uruguay and Jordan. After a stellar performance at the U20 AFCON and U20 World Cup, Mulenga was named The 2007 Glo-CAF Young Player of the Year beating off competition from Congo Brazzaville’s Franchel Ibara and Nigeria’s Oseni Gani.
The 32-year-old was speaking on Qtv’s Tactical Groove program, “I would have drunk less alcohol, I think the thing that has killed my career has been alcohol and am saying this with all the love I have for myself.”
“I’ve always believed so much in myself, I’ve always had this confidence were by I feel like I can do anything and sometimes I would forget about tomorrow so I would just grab a beer were am not suppose to grab a beer.”
“Fortunately I never missed training because I was drunk but I just felt Iike if I would have drunk a little bit less and worked a little more, I would have gone to Europe like I wanted to cause there were times were by like I felt I was so close to the big break but it just never came.”
“And now I sit down and contemplate where I’ve come from, what has been and I’ve felt like l let myself down. That way you don’t hear me point, I can point fingers at a lot of people in my career.”
Mulenga was also bold enough to lift the lid and speak about what transpired when coach Hervé Rénard expelled him out of camp during the 2012 AFCON in Gabon.
“When you sit down with yourself and you are honest about the situation, the night we went out I could have said you know what, am going to stay in guys, am not going out I’ve got a job to do but I chose to go out,” he said.
“If I could change something about Clifford Mulenga I would have not drunk as much as I did.”
The quick and creative winger has played 28 games for the national team and has played most of his club football in South Africa with the likes of the University of Pretoria FC, Bidvest Wits, Mpumalanga Black Ace, Bloemfontein Celtic, Supersport United, and Ajax Cape Town. He also had a spell in Sweden with Örgryte Idrottssällskap.
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