Dean Furman arrived in South Africa from Doncaster Rovers in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2015 as just another midfield to play in the Absa Premiership. But he soon made his presence felt and was appointed captain of both SuperSport United and Bafana Bafana.
Five years later, Furman has taken a flight back to the UK as a seasoned campaigner having earned 56 Bafana caps with three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) appearances.
At club level, Furman won two MTN8 titles and two Nedbank Cup trophies as well as featured in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup final in the colours of ‘Matsatsantsa’.
“I was lucky enough to lift four trophies and be in six domestic cup finals and the equivalent of the Europa League final. I played for the national team and came in unknown because I was playing at Oldham,” Furman told The Guardian.
“I’d seen other players who’d gone down a similar path struggle to be accepted. But for some reason, the fans took to me. My first call-up was away to Brazil – the start of an incredible journey.
“You go to some incredible places. I’ve probably ticked off half of Africa. I’ve been to three Africa Cup of Nations. The last one was knocking out Egypt in Cairo,” added Furman.
“I’ve been to places where football is life. You’d rock up to the stadium and there’s already 50,000 people waiting for kick-off. Travelling through Africa isn’t easy. There are challenges to overcome – hotels, food, travel. If you go over to the west coast sometimes you fly to Dubai and then across. The heat and humidity are factors.”
Now the Bafana star at the age of 31 is attempting to make a comeback in England after leaving SuperSport at the end of his contract.
“I always knew it was going to be difficult in the best of circumstances after being away for five years. Now the pandemic has taken over it’s going to be tough. I’m joining probably over 1,000 players on the free-agent list. But I’m confident we’ll find a club.
“There’s a lot of concern. I guess we have to play the patient game,” concluded the former Oldham and Doncaster midfielder.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi