Boa Morte happy at Pirates
Johannesburg - New Orlando Pirates signing Luis Boa Morte is brimming with excitement over the prospect of playing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
"It was always my desire to be in the country and play in the PSL," he said after his signing was announced on Tuesday.
After weeks of speculation, club chairman Irvin Khoza officially introduced the 34-year-old former Portuguese international midfielder in Houghton, having signed an 18-month deal.
He is best remembered for his stints with English sides Arsenal and Fulham.
Boa Morte also had a stint at West Ham United alongside Benni McCarthy, who played a part in the deal, having also been a high-profile signing for Pirates at the start of the campaign.
"I'm happy to be here to continue my football career and hopefully I can remain here for many seasons, as long as I'm fit," he said.
"I also had many chats with Benni and did my research about the PSL. There are some leagues in Europe that I believe are no better than the PSL."
Khoza said he saw Boa Morte adding value to the Pirates brand on and off the field in a season where they are defending their league crown. Pirates are the top team in the country at the moment, having also won four of the possible five cup trophies on offer in the last year.
"I'm happy that he has come on to strengthen our team and hope he will add value to the team," Khoza said.
"I have already told him that his life is no longer in his hands, but [belongs] to the 'spiritual owners' of the club. In every corner there is a Pirates supporter. The club on its own has its own pressure."
Boa Morte is set to meet with Pirates' Brazilian coach, Julio Leal for the first time on Wednesday.
However, he cannot be registered for the Buccaneers' Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions league campaign next month, with the side having already submitted their list of players to CAF for the opening rounds.
Another former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungberg, is reported to be seeking a move to the PSL, something that Khoza, who also chairs the league, sees as being beneficial for the growth of the premiership product.
"It's great to see that popular players are starting to see the PSL as a popular destination. It is good for the quality of the league," he said.
After prematurely announcing Free State Stars midfielder Thabo Matlaba and striker Njabulo Manqana from Golden Arrows as new signings last week, it appears that there is some detail to be finalised before the players officially join the outfit.
SuperSport United and SA Under-23 central midfielder, Thandani Ntshumayelo, is also set to be the final signing for the Soweto giants, with Sameegh Doutie possibly going the other way.
"I've learnt that you cannot announce players until you have their clearance in your hand," Khoza said.
"But as far as I'm concerned they (Matlaba and Manqana) are part of the Pirates history.
"There will be one more player. We are busy looking at some final touches, and after that, I think we will be done."
Pirates have released five players in midfielder Clifford Ngobeni, striker Siphelele Mthembu (both Arrows), and the trio of strikers Chiukepo Msowoya, Patrick Malokase, and one-time captain and Bafana defender Lucas Thwala to Platinum Stars.