Gus­tavo’s strug­gle is real

Paez knows he needs to im­press at Chiefs so he can stay in the coun­try

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MO­HAU RA­MASHIDJA

THE po­lit­i­cal tur­moil back in Venezuela is what drives Gus­tavo Paez, pic­tured, to con­tinue fight­ing to become a great suc­cess here in South Africa at his club Kaizer Chiefs.

And that’s be­cause the 27year old striker doesn’t want to go back home and raise their soon-to-be-born child with his wife in a coun­try that’s cur­rently un­der­go­ing a po­lit­i­cal up­heaval.

It is the cur­rent Venezue­lan pres­i­dent, Ni­co­las Maduro, who is the cause of the so­cial un­rest in the South Amer­i­can coun­try.

Maduro has been in­sist­ing on es­tab­lish­ing a super-leg­is­la­ture known as the Con­stituent Assem­bly, which will see him gain the sta­tus of a dic­ta­tor. A god among mor­tals so to speak.

Paez, who joined Amakhosi on a twoyear deal in the mid­dle of last sea­son, stated that he didn’t even bother go­ing home to visit the rest of his fam­ily back in Venezuela in the off sea­son break.

The po­tent cen­tre-for­ward opted to pay his sis­ter, who now lives in the United States, a visit in­stead. He said it was safer there. “Venezuela is go­ing through a dif­fi­cult phase right now with all of its pol­i­tics and so­cial un­rest and all,” Paez says.

“I tell most of my South African friends that this, right here, is par­adise com­pared to where I come from. Buy­ing some­thing as ba­sic as food, is very dif­fi­cult back at home. Their hos­pi­tals aren’t that great either.

“My wife is preg­nant now. She’s right here with me (in South Africa). The baby is due to ar­rive in late December. The plan is to be with her un­til the baby ar­rives and we’ll pos­si­bly make a trip to Venezuela to see the rest of the fam­ily back at home af­ter­wards.

“And that’s why I al­ways give it my all when­ever I’m given chance to play,” He adds. “My con­tract says that I have two years with the club and I’m hop­ing that with my ef­forts, I’ll able to play many more years to come (here in South Africa).”

Just this past sea­son, af­ter hav­ing joined Amakhosi in the mid-sea­son trans­fer win­dow, Paez man­aged to score five goals in all com­pe­ti­tions of the 18 matches he’d played in for the club. And this past week­end, the Venezue­lan striker ham­mered in a brace in a 2-0 win against Town­ship Rollers to progress to the fi­nal of Maize Cup tour­na­ment out in the North­West. And though his English is not that great to have fluid con­ver­sa­tions with his team­mates, Paez adds that he doesn’t re­ally stress much about that as­pect of his life, as he only needs his feet to do all the talk­ing for him for his at the club.

“I try to talk to my team­mates as of­ten as I can (to help im­prove his English),” he chuck­les. “But I have found it easy adapt­ing at the club, mainly be­cause all I re­ally need is my feet to play the game.

“If I’m able to score goals in train­ing, and a pos­si­ble one or two in game sit­u­a­tions, then the lan­guage bar­rier is not much of a prob­lem for me.”

Mean­while, Paez stated that he hop­ing to be a reg­u­lar for the Glam­our Boys go­ing into the new sea­son, how­ever, adds that he would re­ally need to work his socks off in or­der for him to break it into the team’s start­ing line-up more reg­u­larly.

“When I first ar­rived here at the club,” Paez says. “My pri­mary fo­cus was to make sure that I adapted to the club way of do­ing things, their style of play and also get­ting to know my team­mates well enough as well.

“It was coach (Steve) Kom­phela who gave me the chance to play. He’s a very in­tel­li­gent man. I know that I’ll now have to work even harder (to be a reg­u­lar in the new sea­son), and I’m will­ing to work for it.

“I want to score at least 10 goals (and then take it from there). That’s a min­i­mum tar­get I have set for my­self (for now).”

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