Be­ing a clever stu­dent is a no-brainer

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

With the kind of qual­ity Bid­vest Wits have as­sem­bled, it should be easy for the book­mak­ers to make their pre­dic­tions.

Even be­fore the sea­son starts, the Clever Boys are shoo-in favourites to re­tain the Absa Premier­ship ti­tle.

It took the club 94 years to claim their maiden league cham­pi­onship, but it should take them far less than that to in­crease their tally.

Wits have been one of the busiest on the mar­ket, with the ar­rival of three in­ter­na­tional play­ers in Steven Pien­aar, Day­lon Claasen and Mon­tene­grin defender Slavko Dam­janović.

They have also added Bokang Tl­hone from Free State Stars, with whom they en­tered into a pre­con­tract as early as Jan­uary.

The Stu­dents have lost Cuth­bert Mala­jila and Mo­gakolodi Ngele, who were on loan from Mamelodi Sun­downs.

But they have a ca­pa­ble re­place­ment in Claasen and he is ex­pected to fill the void left by Ngele.

The 27-year-old, how­ever, be­lieves it will not be easy to break into the Wits lineup. But he has vowed to push hard to make the team.

“The first thing I want is to get back on the field and play. I don’t want to talk too much be­fore the sea­son starts. I can only be the best I can be,” he said this week.

He says he wants to take it easy and does not want to put him­self un­der un­nec­es­sary pres­sure. He would rather let his boots do the talk­ing on the field.

Af­ter play­ing in Hol­land, Bel­gium, Poland and Ger­many, the for­mer Ajax Cape Town mid­fielder be­lieves he will add value to the side.

“The signs are good and I al­ready feel at home. Com­ing to this club was a no-brainer for me as I al­ways wanted to play for Gavin Hunt. I also have friends here. Gavin is a good coach and I am happy to be part of his team.”

Claasen can­not re­mem­ber win­ning a sil­ver medal, ex­cept when he was still with the Ajax Am­s­ter­dam’s second team, but he does not re­gard it as some­thing to cher­ish.

He did not win any­thing dur­ing his stints at Lierse in Bel­gium, Lech Poz­nań of Poland and 1860 Mu­nich in Ger­many.

So, with no se­ri­ous medal to brag about in his ca­reer, he has a burning de­sire to start a col­lec­tion and will have a chance to win his first one when Wits de­fend the MTN8 ti­tle next month.

With nine Bafana Bafana caps to his name, he be­lieves be­ing closer to the na­tional team coach will en­hance his chances of re­turn­ing to the team.

“It will be good to be in the eye of the coach play­ing lo­cally. But first, I must make my team. With the cal­i­bre of play­ers we have at the club, ev­ery day is a learn­ing curve for me.”

He says South African play­ers have what it takes to suc­ceed over­seas if they get op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Foot­ball has evolved so much and it is all about our play­ers’ men­tal at­ti­tude.”

He does not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of go­ing back to Europe one day, but, for now, he wants to be a clever stu­dent, keep on learn­ing, im­prove as a player and win medals.

PHOTO: CHRIS RICCO / BACKPAGEPIX

HOME COM­ING Day­lon Claasen says he wants to add value to Bid­vest Wits

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