It hasn’t been easy – Thabo Cele

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Thabo Cele has opened up about his progress in Portugal and his experience in the SA national junior teams.

He moved to Portugal four and a half years ago from KZN academy. In his first season abroad, the midfielder played for Real SC where he made 24 Campeonato de Portugal appearances before being scouted by giants SL Benfica who signed him on a five-year deal in January 2017.

The 24-year-old only featured six times for Benfica B before making a move to second tier side Cova di Piedade in 2018. He signed a three-year deal at the club which will keep him at the Lisbon side until July 2021.

Since his arrival at Piedade, Cele has racked up 54 Liga Pro appearances for the club, finding the back of the net four times. The creative midfielder is on his last few months with the club, but he refuses to be carried away about his future saying he is focusing on doing the job for his current club.

“I wouldn’t change where I am now for where I was before, it’s been great. I have met different people, got a lot of experience and made a lot of progress. Moving to different clubs has been huge for me because I’ve been learning and growing as a player and a man. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worth every moment.

“The most important thing is to focus on the present, of course you have your own personal goals, but tomorrow is the consequence of today. I always say I will not go back to South Africa at the moment because I am where I should be at the moment. God has put me where I should be so I’m just trying to improve and work hard to get better and help my team.”

Asked about the experience of playing for the national teams at youth level and his future ambitions for Bafana Bafana, the anchor said it was massive for him to play for his country.

“It was massive for me, it was a massive experience because it was something I had always worked for. It gave me a feel of how it’s like to play at that level against top talents around the world.

“Being part of the national team was so important, you always want to be part of something like that. To stand there and sing nkosi sikelela is a moment of honour – it’s unexplainable.”

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By Prince Sobayeni 

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