As he approaches his 50th appearance for the Venoms, Cesar Lobi Manzoki has been assessing his changing role in the Vipers striking line and the need to turn performances into results away in the build-up to Friday’s meeting with Tooro United FC.

The Congolese star made the switch from AS Vita to Kitende two years ago but his ability to score goals of varying types and an infectious personality have quickly endeared him to Vipers faithful.

Coach Roberto Olivieira recognised his qualities when he made him our lead forward and his importance to the team is all-too evident.

If Manzoki plays in Fort Portal on Friday against Tooro United FC, he will be making his 50th appearance – a milestone that even he was surprised to hear about when we him informed this week.

“I’m very happy but also surprised because I didn’t know about it,’ he told Vipers Media in an exclusive interview. “It’s an important thing for me of course.”

“It’s very different in the Uganda Premier League but I like this championship. It’s quite hard because it is more physical. You have to run more and fight more for every single ball but I keep learning everyday and improving all the time.”

The 25 year-old’s responsibilities appear to have changed this season under Robertinho, even if his position on the pitch has not altered too much. On average, he is passing less but making more impact upfront, which he believes reflects the different style of football the team have adopted under their new head coach.

“We are playing forward more and playing quicker as well,’ he reflected. “My role is not very different from last season but as a team we are playing a different way, playing forward more basically pressing hard, and not just with short passes. We run more and maybe we create more chances so that’s the difference.”

“Robertinho lets us play more to our abilities and he wants us to play how we feel on the pitch. It’s not just ‘do this, do that’ so we have freedom to do more by ourselves.”

The attacking trio of Manzoki, Yunus Sentamu and Milton Karisa have scored seven of our last 14 goals in all competitions and that ability to find the net is something the players and coaching staff are constantly working on.

“It’s very important for us forwards to score goals and Robertinho keeps asking us to get into the box,” admitted Manzoki. “He keeps pushing us to do that, which is a good thing for us and for the team because the more players that can score, the better for our team.”

Alongside Sentamu in particular, Manzoki is thriving. The pair have been instrumental since last season scoring 45 goals in total so far between themselves, forming an almost telepathic relationship in deep areas of the pitch. They link up to play out from the back and set attacks in motion.

“We are playing very well together,’ Manzoki says of his partnership with the Cranes international. “We know each other, we know our intentions and how we want to play. Even without looking at me, I know what he wants to do and he knows what I want to do as well because he understands football very well.”

“It’s quite easy to play with him and we’re enjoying this moment because we both enjoy to play football and at the moment we are doing well. It’s very important to have that good relationship and it comes from being close off the pitch, which makes everything on the pitch more easy.”

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