It’s now been 8 years since then 18-year-old Travis Graham made his ABSA Premiership debut for former club Ajax Cape Town against Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville back in 2012.
Regarded as one of the best young defensive midfielders in the country, at one stage he was heavily linked with a possible move to one of the big teams in the country, but nothing ever materialised.
The past 12 months have not been kind to the now 26-year-old, owing to injuries which also led to the midfielder parting ways with former club Cape Town City FC in just less than a season after signing in February 2019.
“It was a difficult time obviously me getting back to playing again. I was out for a year from not playing, and then trying to get back on my feet. Things were looking very good (at City) going up into starting a match and being in the team again, but unfortunately I got an injury at training and it was another set back for me,” Graham reflected in a conversation with FARPost.
“It wasn’t like things weren’t going well for me at City, things were looking bright and things were about to look good for me again but like I said, the injury was another setback. It’s something that I wish it didn’t happen, but God had a plan for me, and that is what needed to happen,” said the midfielder when he was asked about his time at Cape Town City.
Graham left Ajax Cape Town at the end of the 2016/17 season when his contract expired, refusing to sign a new deal with the “Urban Warriors” the midfielder was clubless for 18 months before joining the rivals Cape Town City on a short-term deal.
Knowing his capabilities and the quality that Graham possesses, many felt the “Citizens” should have been more patient with the midfielder but Graham believes City were more than patient with him.
“You know my contract, I only signed for 6 months then my contract came to an end. I was injured during that time, but the club gracefully gave me a place to recover from my injury. So I am really grateful that they gave me that platform, so jah, my contract was done long time before that. That is why I joined Cape Umoya, because I was a free agent,” Graham said.
Now at Cape Umoya in the GladAfrica Championship, Graham made his debut against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila straight after signing in February and the midfielder welcomes the challenge of playing for a new team and under a new technical team.
“Cape Umoya has been really good. I’ve worked with many of the players and the coaches here before. Coach Maahier (Davids) was my U19 coach at Ajax Cape Town and we won together the COPA championship in Amsterdam.
“So I know him very well and he’s a very good coach, very tactically on detail making sure we are on the same page. Unfortunately we were on a good streak just before the COVID-19 but hopefully this blows over soon and we get back into the field again,” said Graham.
There were talks of Graham joining an overseas club a few seasons ago, with some people in the know even saying one of the reasons the player refused to extend his stay with Ajax was because he was pushing for a move overseas.
But limited game time and injuries at Ajax, the move was put on ice. The midfielder, however, still has hopes of plying his trade in Europe someday.
“Anything is possible, and it’s true I was linked with a few clubs overseas but unfortunately because of my situation where I didn’t play as many games as I needed to, so the clubs were not interested. It may sound like it’s gonna be all (good) for a player that is a free agent to get a club overseas but it’s actually not.
“Clubs are interested in players that are playing, especially if you are from Africa. That was my downfall unfortunately, but look, dreams are still there to be made and anything is possible in football. I’m still rooting and working really hard to make that dream come true, but for now my contract is with Cape Umoya and I just want to help the club get where they want to be,” he concluded.
By Shane Matsoyane