Johannesburg - When Leonardo Castro decided to venture into Africa three years ago, he did not know what he was getting himself into.
But, a few years down the line, he does not regret his decision to try his luck in the Premier Soccer League.
“I won trophies in my first season,” said the 28-year-old Colombian striker a few days ago, referring to his time at Mamelodi Sundowns where he won the league title, Telkom Knockout, CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.
Rush the ball
“I took a risk coming here but it turned out to be the right decision. I just wanted to explore the country, the life and people here and now I have fallen in love with South Africa".
Castro said most South American players dream of going to Europe and China because of the lure of money and know very little about the African continent.
And his impressions about South African football are great. He thinks the country has the potential to make it big in world football.
“The football here is quick and faster but sometimes the players tend to rush with the ball unnecessarily. They need to take their time and do the right things".
A week after joining the Chiefs family, Castro is already enjoying life at Amakhosi after the resounding reception he received.
“I can see now the different treatment they give to the player and you have everything to succeed. The environment is good for you to do well".
He does not want to dwell much on his time at Chloorkop, suffice to say he enjoyed his stay there.
“Sundowns is history to me. The environment here is totally different from there. The one thing I know is that the president [Patrice Motsepe] is not always there and it is difficult to find him. People there give different treatment to the players but it was okay for me".
He said his focus is now solely on Chiefs and wants to put a smile on the faces of the club’s supporters.
“I will give everything to make the supporters happy. I want to make my own history and win everything here – that’s why I am here. I am hungry to win trophies for the supporters".
Although he is still waiting for his work permit, he said he was working hard to impress the technical team and fight for a position in the starting team. “The team is winning and I will support whoever is playing if I don’t play".
He is likely to start his new journey with Chiefs against Baroka in Polokwane on Sunday afternoon.
And he will definitely play against his former side – Sundowns – on Saturday, but was quick to say it would not be a grudge game.
“Sundowns is just another game for us. They are a good team, hence they are on top of the log, but for us it will be a chance to close the gap because if they win, it would be hard to catch them”.
He regarded the rumours that linked him with a move to France as a “silly joke”, saying he and his agent were also taken by surprise as they knew nothing about it.
Castro said it was great to be closer to someone who speaks the same language, Spanish – Gustavo Páez from Venezuela – and hoped their understanding and combination would bring smiles to the supporters.
For now he says he is working hard to regain his full fitness so he can bang in goals for his new club.