Two years after joining Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Thapelo Morena is dreaming of playing in Europe.
While few South African players are going abroad to pursue greener pastures and improve their playing skills at the moment, Morena is committed to pursuing that course.
“There’s no youngster who doesn’t have ambitions to go and play abroad,” the 25-year-old utility player said.
“For me, that is one of the big steps I want to take. It’s a chance I would grab with both hands.”
The former Bloemfontein Celtic player believes top leagues such as French Ligue 1 and Belgian First Division A are the right places to kick-start a European career.
“Most young South African players go to France and Belgium. I think that is the way to go.”
Should the Randfontein-born player’s dream of going to one of those leagues come true, he would join former Brazilians team-mates Percy Tau, Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly.
Tau joined English Premiership side Brighton & Hove Albion in a record-breaking deal at the beginning of the season, but was loaned out to Belgian First Division B side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise. Zungu plays for Amiens Sporting Club in France.
Dolly turns it out for Montpellier in the French Ligue 1.
Morena was called up to the Bafana Bafana national team for the back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Seychelles last month.
However, he pulled out after sustaining a quad injury during a warm-up session ahead of Sundowns’ Absa Premiership match against Bidvest Wits before the international break.
But he has since recovered.
“I want to thank the technical team for helping me put my mind-set right.”
He said he also did very well in rehab while recovering from his injury.
“If you do your rehab every day, the time they set for you to recover can be reduced.”
The player, who was a regular for Sundowns before getting injured, said he would still be doing his rehabilitation for the next two weeks.
He played four consecutive games ahead of veteran Anele Ngcongca. In those games, he only came on once as a sub for Toni Silva in their high-scoring 3-3 match against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium in September.
He believes he can still make the cut for the Bafana Bafana 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria on November 17.
The SAFA announced on Friday that national coach Stuart Baxter would reveal his squad for the match tomorrow.