FARPost caught up with South African defender Nikola Tavares after he made the bench for English Premier League side Crystal Palace against newly crowned champions Liverpool last week and the 21-year-old shared his latest exploits in England.
PRINCE SOBAYENI: Nik thanks for taking time out to chat to us let’s get straight to it, you made the bench against Liverpool that must have been a great experience…
NIKOLA TAVARES: Hey Prince yeah overall from the experience it was a great one because there was so much to learn from it. It wasn’t great in terms of the results, but I think the team will analyse it and put things right going forward to the remaining games.
PRINCE SOBAYENI: From a personal point of view it must have been great to be in such a big game at ‘Anfield’ one of the best stadiums in the world against the current European and now newly crowned Premier League champions – how was it?
NIKOLA TAVARES: On a personal point of view it was awesome to be in that environment and visualise how it could have been like if it was packed with fans inside the stadium. Being on the bench you have to always be ready to come on so it was great to see players of that calibre playing up close and live. What I actually found myself doing was specifically watching how Palace’s centre backs defended against Firmino, Mane and Salah so I checked what type of body position they do, what type of movement they make so I was constantly trying to learn to see what I need to do when I do come on.
PRINCE SOBAYENI: You must be feeling good and ready for your chance though Nik because already being on the bench two times in the league must have boosted your confidence.
NIKOLA TAVARES: It’s not down to me the gaffer has to feel like it’s the right opportunity to throw me in, but I’m ready, I’m praying and my faith has given me confidence man. I’m on the sidelines visualising coming on I’m not feeling so daunted by the chances of making my Premier League debut I’m more excited and optimistic about my progress which is a good place to be in thanks to God. I’m feeling really confident so hopefully it will happen soon.
PRINCE SOBAYENI: Overall what’s going to be your approach going forward now into the rest of the season moving from that result of Wednesday?
NIKOLA TAVARES: Overall it wasn’t a good result, but we’ve moved on from it. Hopefully I can get my debut soon then we can build on that so we will continue to fight on. I’ve been training with the team regularly for the past three weeks doing very well holding my own so hopefully the manager deems my training performances good enough to trust me in a Premier League match so that’s the goal for me let’s see if I can do it I have faith – let’s see what happens whatever God’s plan is it will come to reality.
PRINCE SOBAYENI: Nik thank you so much for talking to us we are proud of you and all the best against Burnley today.
NIKOLA TAVARES: Thank you so much for having me, I’m sending love to everyone back home stay safe.
Crystal Palace will be hosting Burnley at Salhurst Park tonight at 21:00 (SA time) and Tavares will be hoping to make the match day squad yet again or better yet even make his senior team debut.
By Prince Sobayeni