The diminutive Uruguayan Gastón Sirino came to South Africa as a relative unknown, an attacking midfielder from Bolivian side Bolivar back in 2018.
However, over the past two seasons, he has turned into a household name in the Absa Premiership in the colours of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Since arriving in South Africa two years ago, Sirino has been giving defenders in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and Caf Champions League sleepless nights.
“It is different, here the football is a lot more physical. It took me some time to adjust to the physicality and speed at first,” said Sirino.
“Coach Pitso helped me a lot here and allowed me the time to adjust and never rushed me.”
Sirino admits that he is an emotional person. He was on multiple occasions caught misbehaving on the field of play and the Sundowns coach has urged the player to control his emotions and temperament.
“Laughs…I am a very emotional player. I put everything into every game and sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me,” admitted Sirino.
“I am growing as a player and a person and want to leave that all behind. I feel like I have become a senior player in the team now and need to lead by example.”
The Uruguayan says he decided to join Sundowns because he was looking for a new challenge and heard that the team plays in the Caf Champions League.
“I was looking for a new challenge after winning the league with Bolivar. I had heard there was interest in me from a club in South Africa. I had to look into the club and its history. I called my agent and asked him what he thought of the club,” added Sirino.
As things stand, Sirino has made 90 appearances for ‘The Brazilians’ and has scored 22 goals while registering 15 assists. While in the Caf Champions League, he has 7 goals and 10 assists in 26 matches.
“He [agent] told me about the Champions League victory and the success the club enjoyed. That was enough for me to take up the challenge and explore this opportunity under the guidance of coach Pitso, who made me feel welcomed and made it easy for me to adjust to the league and my teammates.”
“Lifting the trophy in the 2017/18 season, coming from another league, and winning the PSL was a big moment for me, and justified my reason for joining the club.”
The 29-year-old went on to say that it was easy to adjust to life in South Africa. “The people here are very friendly and welcoming,” he said.
“The Sundowns supporters are unreal, from the songs in the stadiums to when they see me around outside football. They have embraced me and my family and it’s very comforting to see and experience this love.
“My family and daughters are enjoying themselves and have become my private interpreters, they have picked up English very quickly,” concluded Sirino.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi