“MY BIG­GEST DOWNFALL WAS MY OWN ATTITUDE. I THOUGHT THE PEO­PLE AROUND ME WERE THE REA­SON I WASN’T PLAYING.”

“I played with the Un­der-19s and

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and there’s an empty hole that I haven’t filled yet.”

The Wits ex­pe­ri­ence was both a

bless­ing and a dif­fi­cult time for Liam, who was still get­ting over the trauma of los­ing his fa­ther. He ad­mits to mak­ing mis­takes, but says it was all part of grow­ing up and ac­knowl­edges his faults. “I signed with Wits when I was 15. Every­thing hap­pened when I was very young, so I didn’t re­alise that it was in my hands un­til I was maybe 17. I was ex­pect­ing to be in the [ Wits] team and I wasn’t,” he says. “I had al­ways been in the team wher­ever I had played be­fore and al­ways ex­pected to play, and to be the player that ev­ery­body re­lied on, es­pe­cially in New Zealand. “But to come to South Africa and see play­ers do things with the ball that I had never seen be­fore … I mean, I was train­ing with Ben­jani [Mwaruwari] and Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi, big names! “I ac­tu­ally didn’t know who these guys were un­til I got there. I came so ig­no­rant into pro­fes­sional foot­ball and the ca­reer path in gen­eral, so I was learn­ing ev­ery day.” scored a cou­ple of good goals in train­ing. Gavin [Hunt] had a word with coach Ash­ley [Makhanya] and Glen Sal­mon, who is head of the youth de­vel­op­ment there, and I think af­ter train­ing for a cou­ple of days with them, I went straight to the re­serve team [BidBoys]. “I trained with BidBoys once and then Gavin said, ‘Let’s keep you in first team train­ing ev­ery­day’. I thought it was great, but in say­ing that, I ex­pected to be­cause I had so much con­fi­dence in my­self. I didn’t want to go back down to the U-19s, as I felt I de­served to be in the first team. “I made so many mis­takes, but learnt so much. If I go train now it is crazy [to see the im­prove­ment]. It is amaz­ing how much you can learn in three years. “It was im­por­tant for me to learn the ex­pec­ta­tion of how to per­form in the first team, how to be­have, how to con­duct your­self as a first team player. I was still young.”

(Below) Jordan says he has grown as a player and per­son from his time in Por­tu­gal.

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