Chawanangwa Kaonga: Who is the seven-goal Malawian international set for Kaizer Chiefs?

The attacker is among players who have been heavily linked with a move to Naturena

Kaizer Chiefs have been heavily linked with an interest in Malawian international Chawanangwa Kaonga as they seek to improve their attack after a poor season in the PSL.

Chiefs finished a disappointing 10th and as they edge closer to appointing Tunisian Nasreddine Nabi as their next coach, they are also looking to bolster the squad with better quality players.

Kaonga has emerged as one of the players on the Soweto giants’ radar with his experience and versatility seen as a major plus.

As Amakhosi consider this transfer, Afrik Foot looks at who the player is and what he will be bringing to Naturena.

Full Malawian international

Kaonga has 24 caps for Malawi since making his debut in 2015 and has scored three goals during that period.

After being overlooked for over two years, he has become a key player for the Flames since June 2023, featuring in their last 11 games.

His three goals for the national team have come during that period when he also provided two assists.  

Played in South Africa before

The attacker will be no stranger to South African football if he makes the switch to Naturena.

He played for TS Sporting in the South African second tier between 2020 and 2021 and was among the standout players for Malawi during the 2023 COSAFA Cup when the Flames finished fourth.

At the tournament in Durban, he was named Player of the Tournament and was also included in the Best XI.

He left TS Sporting in 2021 and returned home to Malawi to join Silver Strikers after which he made the switch to Zanaco.

Age, goals & assists

At 29, some Chiefs fans would be right to question the wisdom of signing a player who turns 30 next January when the club could perhaps have looked at younger options to build a team around.

His goal tally does not also inspire much confidence as he has managed seven while providing one assist in 25 games across two seasons.

That is the same number of goals Christian Saile has bagged in his one-and-a-half years at Chiefs, which is still not enough.

Upgrades on Dolly?

Out of contract Keagan Dolly has not covered himself in glory in recent years at Chiefs and few will be surprised if the club cuts ties.

Dolly endured an injury-filled 2023-24 season when he could only feature in eight games, which ended without a goal.

He had not set the stage alight the previous season when he managed six goals and four assists in 31 games. The 2021-22 season was much better as it yielded eight goals and five assists in 26 games.

Dolly has been declining in the last two seasons and even with his few goals, Kaonga would perhaps represent an upgrade if he joined Chiefs.

Dynamism in attack

The 29-year-old plays as an attacking midfielder but can also slot in as a second striker which would give his coach some flexibility upfront.

Chiefs largely payed with one striker last season and Kaonga would be the man upfront or play of the main striker given he is good at both roles.

He can also slot in the No10 position to pull the strings just behind given he has a good range of passing, plus an eye for goal.

Kaonga is right-footed which could see him deployed on the left wing on certain occasions so that he can cut in with his stronger foot.

Avatar photo
Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.