Yanga Baliso is pleased with his journey so far in his young career.
The midfielder has made a lot of progress since leaving Orlando Pirates for Finnish side Pargas in 2019. After just a season with Pargas in the lower divisions, the midfielder was signed by top-flight side Mariehamn at the start of the 2020 campaign.
FARPost caught up with the Cape Town-born 24-year-old midfielder who explained that he started playing football at a very young age and it’s been a challenging, but good journey for him.
“I started playing football when I was seven. My dad had a team and he used to take me with him to every single game and training session.
“I’d be on the side of the field always kicking balls and my love for the game just grew.”
Having only featured in the South African second tier with Cape Umoya and in the MDC Diski Challenge for Pirates, the majority of local fans have never seen the midfielder in action. Like any other South African footballer, Baliso boasts a lot of skill and pace, but his strength is the ability to thread a pass.
“I’m a very good passer of the ball, long and short passes. I’m also a good dribbler on one versus one situations so I enjoy taking on players a lot.
“I’ve also got a good shooting and finishing technique, it doesn’t matter if it’s long range or shot range, I always take shots.”
He continued to explain how his move abroad came saying he wanted to test himself beyond his comfort zone.
“I had an opportunity to travel and play after the passing of my dad and I felt like that was the right time to move away from everything and start over because it was a very difficult time for me to continue playing.
“A lot was on my mind and I wasn’t really motivated to play so I chose to take the opportunity and go abroad and see what happens.”
Baliso concluded by giving some words of advice to South African youngsters who also have dreams of playing at the highest level some day. He also shared his aspirations of one day coming back to prove himself in the local league.
“My advice to the young ones is to never quit on their dreams and always work hard. Your time will come football is a very strange game things change so quickly, but most importantly, be disciplined and patient.
“Of course playing home will always be in my heart playing in front of the people I love and those beautiful supporters bring such an amazing atmosphere.”
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By Prince Sobayeni