Mamelodi Sundowns' Thapelo Morena bringing derby mentality against Free State Stars
Posted: 3 December 2016 Time: 11:49
Mamelodi Sundowns utility player Thapelo Morena is bringing a derby mentality into today's clash with Free State Stars at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Morena knows Ea Lla Koto as a Free State rival from his time at Bloemfontein Celtic and just the sight of those red and white colours ignites a passion that is even felt in his speech.
He has always known them as an enemy and it seems that hasn’t changed up to now, this based on his chat with KickOff.com.
“Did you really have to remind me about the Free State derby,” he chuckles before suddenly giving a serious look.
“The Free State derby meant you have to deliver more than you have been doing all along. Everybody knew that they have to fight tooth and nail because this was a fight against those other people. It came out as a war between two teams and a war between the supporters, everyone in the stadium feels it,” he relates.
“I am now here at Sundowns but the mind-set hasn’t changed. I will take the passion from Celtic for this opponent and thrive towards delivering in the same way I would have done if I was in Celtic colours. I know that they are going to come fighting and give it their all which also means we must also do the same. The Free State derby passion will be an added drive for me to in trying to get victory over our opponents tomorrow [today],” says Morena, who has embraced playing at right-back of late instead of in attack.
“It is not a shock that I am playing as a right-back because when Ernst Middendorp gave me my breakthrough at Celtic I played the same position. Middendorp told me that I am a good player and he sees a lot of potential in me but he felt he needed to strengthen me a bit by playing me from deep as a right-back. This is a position that is not so different to being a winger because I can still go forward and create goals. Being converted to a right-back doesn’t mean I have stopped doing what I did as a winger. I think I can deliver a lot more playing this position if l can improve on some tactical aspects, I mean I can still use my speed and create chances for us to score,” he explains.
The Brazilians will have to retain their focus for this tie, starting at 15h30, as they jet out to Japan on Monday for the FIFA Club World Cup.