It’s not a walk in the park
UbUbuntut CCape TTown striker,tik CCameron ChChweu, opens up tto SoccerS LLaduma’sd’ PPetert RRaath aboutt ththe club’s l b’ struggles. He also discusses his amateur career, teammates and the NFD.
Peter Raath: Please tell us why you used the words “I’m a flower that grows from concrete” - written by the late American rapper and actor, Tupac Shakur - to describe yourself?
Cameron Chweu: It’s very rare for a flower to grow on hard concrete. But if a seed does manage to germinate, then only in very difficult circumstances would it survive. Growing up, I never played at any academies nor did I get an opportunity to showcase my talent. That made it much harder for me to break into the professional set-up at an earlier age. Prior to representing Bubchu United FC and North West University in the ABC Motsepe League, I had only played Sunday League football. I had to constantly compete in order to prove to myself and others that one day I’d also make it. So the flower/concrete reference describes my life because, despite all the difficulties, I man- aged to score 10 goals in the Varsity Cup and 17 in the ABC Motsepe League. I also played the full 90 minutes for the 2016 Nedbank Ke Yona team that lost 1- 0 to SuperSport United. I feel very privileged to have worked with Nedbank’s top coaches, Shakes Mashaba and Owen da Gama, who were still in the Bafana Bafana set-up back then. I learnt a lot from them as well as the other coaches. All this played a part in the type of player that I am now. My other achievement is an honours degree, while I’m currently doing my masters.
PR: You’ve experienced a tough few months as a pro, having been released by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC without kicking a ball, before being on the wrong side of a 3-0 hammering by Maccabi FC in only your second match for struggling Ubuntu Cape Town.
CC: God’s timing is always per- fect. TTM decided to let me go after I’d reported for pre-season. I was under the impression that the deal had been done, but apparently, they wanted experienced players. So they decided to cut ties and let me look for another team, which meant I didn’t go to the University Sports South Africa Games. It was exciting to finally play as a professional; however, at the same time, I experienced bitter disappointment as we lost 1-0 to Richards Bay. The Maccabi match was one of two different halves. At 2-0 down, our team piled on the pressure and gave everything we could by pushing numbers forward, which left us exposed for the third goal. Playing the vast majority of our games away has been part of the problem, especially because that included three trips to Mpumalanga. It was difficult to adapt to that environment due to the heat. We found ourselves struggling under former head coach, Casey Prince. But the good thing is that he’s a very religious man, who tried to keep us positive and wanted to get the best out of us. We also have a religious technical team.
PR: With your knowledge of the Varsity Cup, how would you describe the NFD?
CC: The NFD is not a walk in the park. The pace is very fast, tactically advanced and unpredictable. It’s a league where players have to compete to the fullest in each game. Most of our squad is made up of youngsters who are still trying to find their feet and the right combination. Asanda Dyani, 19, formerly with Kaizer Chiefs MDC team, has been doing well regularly starting on the left wing, although he can also play on the right. Our Zimbabwean striker, Kudakwashe Mangami, might be the same age, but he’s a strong, hungry type of player. It’s very hard to take the ball away from him and, in the near future, I can see him scoring some goals. Azeemud-Deen Brenner, a left back, is a hardworking young lad, who tries to improve every single day and isn’t a person to make a mistake. He’s a down-to- earth humble guy Ubuntu’s academy. With very experienced opposition like Ajax Cape Town and Jomo Cosmos, as well as these clubs’ coaches, it is tough in the NFD. But, having said that, during our goalless draw against Ajax, we dominated most parts of the game and could have won. You can see that the players are really fighting. In the second round, there are lots of home matches, so hopefully Ubuntu will get those points. We will turn the corner soon.
PR: But despite hiring a new coach, Vladislav Heric, your team suffered its seventh loss after going down 2-0 to University of Pretoria.
CC: That was obviously supposed to be a must-win game for us as we want to remain in the league and narrow the points difference between Ubuntu and the closest clubs. But it didn’t happen. Due to all the losses, the guys are doing extra training. PR: Thanks, Cameron. CC: No problem, Peter. ❐