'He's a class above, every inch the Football League player': Portsmouth and Tanzania's Haji Mnoga impressing despite Weymouth struggles

Haji Mnoga has admirably demonstrated his Football League ‘class’ amid Weymouth’s relegation woes.

Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 11:53 am

That’s the verdict of Dorset Echo senior sports correspondent Neil Walton, who has been impressed with the Pompey youngster’s ongoing contribution.

Irrespective of National League troubles which have left Weymouth nine points adrift of safety, Mnoga has flourished since his January loan arrival.

With 14 appearances and one red card, the 19-year-old has been a regular first-team choice for the Terras, either at centre-half or right-back.

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Even a managerial change after just one outing, with David Oldfield appointed, hasn’t dislodged Mnoga from the side.

And, according to Walton, the Somerstown youngster has shone despite gathering relegation gloom.

He told The News: ‘Haji is playing really well. The first time I saw him you could tell he was a class above, every inch the Football League player.

‘He’s got that composure on the ball, it’s easy to forget he’s only 19, and has that extra bit of class about him.

Haji Mnoga has played 14 times for Weymouth during a loan spell in which he has impressed. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘He’s a good athlete, is good on the ball, loves to make runs forward from defence, and versatile too, excelling in every position he has taken up on the pitch.

‘There certainly haven't been too many instances when Haji has gone in wildly for a tackle. There was one occasion when he did fly in a bit rashly and was given a yellow card, but he’s maturing at Weymouth in that respect.

‘The defender has been one of Weymouth’s better performers, also standing out among the subsequent signings since David Oldfield became manager.

‘He is embracing the challenge, you can see him blossoming, and the fans, especially on social media, were made up for him when he got the Tanzania call-up.

‘They chant his name in the stands occasionally and can see he’s one of the better players the club has right now.

‘I like Haji’s fearlessness, he’s just a teenager but you wouldn’t think so looking at it, he also looks to affect the game whenever he can, there are those little runs forward to help out the midfield and link up play.

‘He looks a great prospect and, if you can polish him a little, he’s going to be one of those who can flourish.’

Yet the youngster will be back for their next fixture – away at Grimsby on April 9.

Walton added: ‘Haji has done better at centre-half. Some teams have looked at him at right-back and had a bit of joy.

‘He’s not the quickest on the turn, so some of the speedier wingers have tended to take him on and skirt along the byline and enter the box that way.

‘Certainly when that has happened he’s made some good recovery tackles, but I've noticed it has been a bit of a tactic some teams have looked to use against him when he’s played in that position.

‘At centre-back he has looked more solid, whether in a back two or three, and I think that’s his better position.’

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