Cape Town - Sport24 brings you an interview with Moroka Swallows legend Lefa Tsutsulupa ahead of the new 2014/15 PSL season.
The World Cup in Brazil has grabbed the imaginations of football lovers across the globe – what has made the biggest impression on you and why?
Lefa: The group stages impressed a lot for the amount of goals that were scored, the quality of football played was high as well. I also liked the fact that goals were coming from different players and not just the usual strikers that are well known.
Any individual players you like and why?
Lefa: Alexis Sanchez – I like his directness on the ball and the way he finishes. He was one of the standout players at the World Cup. Then Neymar and Messi - despite all the pressure on them to produce fine performances, they are always up to the challenge.
African teams have experienced a mixed bag of results – what do teams from the continent need to do differently to succeed at the World Cup?
Lefa: Teams need to be better organised off the pitch, money issues and bad administration is always a handicap for African teams when at the World Cup. Officials always put their interests and agendas ahead of the players, this can’t go on any further.
You played under Gordon Igesund at club level and the team were flying. So were you shocked when Bafana Bafana ended the contract with Gordon Igesund – do you think he was given a fair chance?
Lefa: I was not shocked he was sacked, his contract was up and we don’t know his performance clauses so he probably did not meet them. He is a top quality coach though so I have no doubt he will bounce back stronger.
Last season was a tough one for the Birds, what can fans expect from the team in the new season – will you fly in 2014/15?
Lefa: We need to improve the intake of players coming to the club and improve the organisation, but I hope for a good season that’s better than 2013-2014.
Any new faces the fans can look forward to seeing on the pitch?
Lefa: Yes. There are few players on trial who look impressive, I am sure they will add value to the team performance. Time will tell.
What are your personal goals for the new season?
Lefa: I need to have an injury free season, the last campaign was interrupted by injuries and I lost the momentum while I was out. I hope this season is better and I need to score more goals to alleviate the pressure on the strikers.
You are 34 now, so how many more seasons do you have in your legs and what inspires you to keep playing?
Lefa: I honestly don’t know, for as long I can keep up with the demands of the game I will keep going. They day I start lagging behind, I will stop.
You are a Moroka Swallows legend having donned the club jersey in over 250 matches. It must be in your blood, so do you hope to become part of the club structures once you are ready to retire?
Lefa: Yes, I know I can contribute to Moroka Swallows and improve the structures, but nothing is guaranteed in football. I have been doing a lot to prepare myself beyond the playing days, so when that day comes I will be ready for the next challenge.
IMAGE: Lefa in the new 2014/15 Moroka Swallows kit
What are your thoughts on your new PUMA kit?
Lefa: I love it, it’s simple yet very attractive. A very traditional shirt with no frills, and more than anything it fits very well.
Which PUMA boots do you wear and what are your thoughts on them?
Lefa: I wear evoSPEED, they are comfortable and I can use the FG studs in all weather conditions. They are without a shadow of doubt the best boots I have worn in my long and illustrious career.
Are you involved in any football development projects or the club’s academy?
Lefa: Yes I am, my brother and I own a football club which assists young players with training and preparations for greener pastures. As we speak I have young guys at the Bloemfontein Celtic development team who have impressed there. I will be the happiest man if they get to play in the PSL one day.
What are your thoughts on the status of football development in South Africa and what do you feel needs to be done to make the national team more competitive on a global level?
Lefa: We need to establish national academies so talented players can get proper training. The level of youth coaching also needs to be improved so our young players’ talents can be in the right hands.