Orlando Pirates midfielder Yusuf Maart has expressed his delight after making his debut for the club against EC Bees in the Nedbank Cup over the weekend.
Maart, who’s been impressive this year in the Multichoice Diski Challenge, was recently promoted to the Buccaneers senior team for their Round of 32 fixture against EC Bees.
The midfielder came on as a second-half substitute to replace captain Oupa Manyisa for the remaining minutes of the match as Pirates secured a 3-1 victory.
Maart says he has mixed emotions after finally making his debut for the Buccaneers, and to get the much needed game time under his belt.
‘I’m happy to have made my debut and to have carved out some space for myself,’ Maart told the Orlando Pirates website.
‘I had mixed emotions. I was excited and nervous at the same time, excited because this was a dream come true, but also nervous because of the weight of expectations.
‘This is not an ordinary jersey; many great players have worn it and many of them have left their mark, and I would like to do the same one day.’
The midfielder admits that he is overwhelmed at his rise into the senior team after playing most of the season with the reserve side in the MDC, where he finished as their second highest scorer with seven goals.
‘Everything has happened very quickly. I did not anticipate turning professional in only my first MDC season. This was really unexpected, but also rewarding because it shows that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed,’ he added.
‘Traveling with the first team players was an amazing experience, but not completely new because during our away trips with the Multichoice Diski Challenge we experienced the same admiration from our supporters.’
Maart went on to say that he is thankful to the club for showing faith in him, and he says that he will be hoping to build on his achievement.
‘The real change of mindset came on the day of the match. I think that is when reality hit me. Sitting on the bench and seeing the stadium packed the way it was made it even more difficult to settle my nerves,’ Maart said.
‘When the coach called me to come on I became extremely nervous and I think the coach sensed it because he tried calming my nerves. He told me to relax and enjoy the last minutes of the match, the nerves kicked in again when the substitution board went up and my number was displayed in green next to the captain’s (Oupa Manyisa).
‘Overall, I am thankful for the opportunity that the coach gave me and I look to build on this milestone. There is a lot of work to be done, but I think I am ready. I feel there is more to come from me, but I want to take things slowly and not get ahead of myself too soon.’
Orlando Pirates will next travel to Globe Park when they take on Free State Stars in the Absa Premiership on April 1, following the international break.
Kick-off has been scheduled for 18:00.
Image: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix