Macarthur midfielder Charles M'Mombwa.
Macarthur midfielder Charles M'Mombwa has proved a big hit in Tanzania. Image by Jeremy Ng/AAP PHOTOS
  • soccer

King Charles’ African jaunt brings unlikely Bulls boost

George Clarke December 17, 2023

They may not attract the biggest crowds in the A-League Men, but in a matter of weeks Macarthur FC have unlocked a whole nation of fans in the African nation of Tanzania.

The sudden rise in the Bulls’ fame overseas is thanks to midfielder Charles M’Mombwa, who won his first senior caps for Tanzania in November’s World Cup qualifiers.

The 25-year-old’s father is Congolese, his mother Tanzanian, and he spent time in Zimbabwe as a child before settling in Sydney’s southwest.

M’Mombwa capped his debut for Tanzania against Niger with a goal, and while he was delighted to score, he thought little more of it.

But when he got back to Australia he realised he had a new-found level of fame.

His Instagram account had gained 50,000 new followers and Macarthur’s official social media pages have been inundated with comments asking for daily content of Tanzania’s very own ‘King Charles’.

“It’s everyone’s dream to play for your national team, we got a win and a goal on debut so you can’t ask for much better than that,” M’Mombwa told AAP.

“We’re a big footballing country and to get that goal was a big deal for the nation.

“I wasn’t following on socials too much because it can get distracting, but there was lots of comments from people from Tanzania.

“There’s a lot of love for me in the country, I’m just grateful for everything and it’s awesome to see.

“They’re happy for me and they want me to play for them as much as I can.”

Charles M'Mombwa (left) with Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski.
 The midfielder (l) hopes to get more minutes as part of Mile Sterjovski’s (r) Macarthur reboot. Image by Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS 

Macarthur host Wellington Phoenix on Monday night and will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, which had them at the top of the table heading into round eight.

While M’Mombwa has had limited opportunities in the A-League Men this season, he has been buoyed by the atmosphere created by head coach Mile Sterjovski as the club rebounds from last year’s wooden spoon.

“We’ve got a very strong squad and it’s been difficult to get minutes because everyone’s playing so well,” M’Mombwa said.

“Mile came in last season and it was difficult for everyone.

“We had a full pre-season under him and you can see the result of that coming out on the field. Hopefully we can play in the finals later this season.”