Bafana prepared me for big stage

2011-10-08 20:03

Despite Getafe CF’s bad start in the Spanish La Liga, Tsepo Masilela tells DANIEL MOTHOWAGAE that his playing in one of Europe’s big leagues is a dream come true

How do you find Spain after having spent four years in Israel?
I made lots of friends in Israel and I was quite familiar with the culture and the language. But now I have to start all over again in Spain.

Has it always been your dream to play in Spain?
My goal was that after (spending) three or four years in Israel, I would move to a bigger European league.

I am happy to be in Spain even though I must prove myself as I am just on a season-long loan deal.

How big is your club Getafe?
Getafe is not one of the biggest clubs but they have been campaigning in the (Spanish) La Liga for almost eight seasons. We attract good home crowds.

Who is your closest friend at the club and how do you get around town?
I stay alone at my apartment and so far I don’t have any close friends.

Another teammate of mine stays not far from me and he offers me a lift at times.

So far, I am the only player from Africa in the team with other foreign players coming from Venezuela and Argentina.

At position 17 on the log, Getafe started badly. And you got injured after four appearances.

We struggled in our opening matches but we have a good squad to turn the tables around.

Yes, I pulled my hamstring (against Espanyol) and the doctor said I would be out for three weeks. I hope to start training with the rest of the team next week.

What was it like playing against Real Madrid?
It was a great experience and I must say I was not intimidated because of the experience I gained playing for Bafana in the Fifa Confederations Cup (in 2009) and the World Cup (last year).

The experience of having played for Maccabi Haifa in the Uefa Champions League (during the 2009/10 season) also prepared me.

It didn’t take me long to adjust to La Liga. Now I am looking forward to playing against Barcelona (on November 27).

Do you regard playing in the La Liga as a perfect window to market yourself?
I am taking one step at a time. My aim is to make a starting 11 at Getafe.

Although La Liga is also one of the most televised leagues in the world, I don’t really see it as a window as I am on loan.

What is your view on being rated as Bafana Bafana’s No 1 leftback?
I always do my best with every call-up.

In my opinion, we have good leftbacks in South Africa.

It is good to see the latest recruit Punch (Masenamela) in the team.

Are you satisfied with your achievements so far?
Looking back, I think I have achieved a fair amount of success in my career. Thanks to the support from my family and many people at home in Witbank (Mpumalanga).

I was fortunate to have played regularly, in the past four years, for club and country.

» Masilela is the fifth South African to play in La Liga after striker Benni McCarthy with Celta Vigo (1999-2003) and defenders Nasief Morris (Recreativo Huelva [2008-2009] and Racing Santander [2009-2010]), David Nyathi (Tenerife [1996-1997]) and the late Sizwe Motaung (Tenerife [1997-1998]). 

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