Vieira set for a re­turn to his roots

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MINENHLE MKHIZE

BAFANA Bafana mid­fielder Lehl­o­gonolo Masalesa is set for a re­turn to the lo­cal league where he will re­con­nect with his first pro­fes­sional club, Plat­inum Stars.

Mase­lesa was club­less af­ter leav­ing Greek side Ath­li­tik Enosi Larisa.

The club an­nounced last night that they have con­cluded the deal with the lanky mid­field en­forcer.

“I’ve worked so hard for this deal and it is go­ing to hap­pen,” Mazin­giza said “Mase­lesa is a qual­ity player and we would love to have him in our team.”

The soft spo­ken mid­fielder re­cently cap­tained the se­nior na­tional side in the Cosafa Cup.

He had to be with­drawn from the squad, how­ever, for the two-legged tie against Botswana in the CHAN qual­i­fier as CAF rules dic­tate that only play­ers ply­ing their trade in their coun­tries of birth can par­tic­i­pate in the com­pe­ti­tion.

A grad­u­ate of the renowned Africa Sport Youth Academy, the 25-year-old from Lim­popo failed to make his mark at Stars back in the 2009/10 sea­son and made only a sin­gle ap­pear­ance as a sub­sti­tute.

He later joined Bid­vest Wits where his star shone bright

and he was swiftly snapped up by Or­lando Pi­rates with whom he reached the 2013 Caf Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

The player nick­named Vieira af­ter the for­mer Arse­nal and France mid­field work­horse left Pi­rates last sea­son to pur­sue his ca­reer abroad.

His agent Paul Mitchell ex­plained why they are con­sid­er­ing bring­ing the player back home so quickly af­ter his move to Europe, the fact there is ‘in­ter­est in Europe’ not­with­stand­ing.

“Next year is World Cup year. The new Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Bax­ter seems to like Mase­lesa. He trusted him with the arm­band. The player also didn’t dis­ap­point. We want him to be at the place where Bax­ter will be able to mon­i­tor him eas­ily. That’s why we are con­sid­er­ing a lo­cal move.

“The coach has al­ready made it clear he’d pre­fer that play­ers play in com­pet­i­tive leagues in Europe.”

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