His heroics in youth tournaments are well known in domestic football. Despite being rarely used in the senior team, his impressive form in the U-20 league tournaments prompted the national team coach, Kim Poulsen to include him in the national team set-up. He is yet to earn a national cap but that could soon change as he is set to play a large role in the Vodacom Premier league.
On Saturday, Head coach Stewart Hall threw him on the big stage against Young Africans in the Community Shield cup. In front of thousands of spectators who thronged the National stadium, he produced a convincing display. He had a nervous start in the early minutes and let in a goal just two minutes into the game. To his defence, there was little he could have done to save Salum Telela split-second interception shot that went in to score the only goal of the match. Perhaps with a little more experience, he would have communicated better with his defenders who appeared immobile as Yanga zoned in his operating area.
Despite the early rude welcome, Manula convincingly survived the early minute’s first-half bombardment as Yanga threatened to double their lead. He calmly collected whatever crosses came his way. He was never afraid to get out of the box to clear away danger. Sensing his defender had been well beaten, he calmly rushed out of his goal area to clear the ball out of danger.
Manula seems to be a cross-breed between Juma Kaseja and Ivo Mapunda. He has Kaseja’s agility while possessing the physical box-presence of Mapunda. Some pundits have nostalgic liken him to former Taifa Stars goalkeeper, Mohamed Mwameja. Perhaps it is too early to compare to past greats but with the confidence his coach has shown, we can hope he lives to fulfill his rich potential.