Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge reflects on Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs
Posted: 2 February 2016 Time: 08:53
Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge says the team feels the freedom to express themselves with the ball under coaching duo Eric Tinkler and Tebogo Moloi.
The skillful Qalinge garnered attention in the Soweto Derby stalemate with Kaizer Chiefs, drawing cheers from the crowd when he chest-trapped the ball, lifted it onto his shoulders before bringing it down in style at FNB Stadium.
“Our coaches Eric and 'Tebza' play an important role by encouraging us to express ourselves,” Qalinge told his club's website. “They tell us not to be afraid to lose the ball but what’s important is how we react to losing the ball, they expect you to fight to get it back.
“As Pirates players we play the way we do because it’s our style and the whole team believes in it. I mean with all the players we encourage each other to be confident and play with skill where possible. But also as wingers we discuss our approach to each game. We encourage each other whether it’s Sifiso, Mpho, Jomo or myself playing we are all wingers and we encourage each other.
“Even after the pitch inspection the wingers that are not starting the match will advise the guys that are starting on the conditions of the pitch whether it’s conducive for skill and if not, how to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, Qalinge revealed he was shaking with nerves when making his way down the tunnel for his first Derby start.
“I’m from Soweto so it is huge. I mean it serves as a great motivation factor for me because not only was the whole country and the world watching but my people from eKasi, you know my family and my friends were watching as well, which is highly motivating.
“I achieved my dream although I understand that I have to continue working hard and stay humble but because of that feat, my whole perspective has changed. I have gone from wondering if certain dreams are possible to knowing that if I put my mind to it, there is no dream or goal that I can’t reach.”
The former Mpumalanga Black Aces man continued: “There is always a bit of nerves with every match. I found that I am always a bit nervous before the adrenaline kicks in. I was fine during the warm-ups but when we were lined up at the players' tunnel and about to take the field just before kick-off, I was literally shaking.
“But I knew this was it, I couldn’t hide. I just had to step up and play my game. I also knew that if I could pull off one or two moves, it would get the crowd behind me and that would calm the nerves and keep me motivated.”