Yusuf Maart thankful for Orlando Pirates debut
Posted: 13 March 2017 Time: 17:05
Orlando Pirates midfielder Yusuf Maart has expressed his delight after being handed his first team debut in their Nedbank Cup win over EC Bees on Sunday.
Maart came on for skipper Oupa Manyisa in the last 10 minutes of the match with the score already at 3-1 at the Sisha Dukashe Stadium.
The Multichoice Diski Challenge star was rewarded for his displays with the Bucs' reserve team, and spoke of his first taste of professional football and revealed his hopes of leaving his mark at the club.
“I’m happy to have made my debut and to have carved out some space for myself,” Maart told his club's official website.
"I had mixed emotions. I was excited and nervous at the same time….excited because this was a dream come true but also nervous because of the weight of expectation.
"This is not an ordinary jersey; many great players have worn it and many of them have left their mark and I would like to do the same one day.”
The 21-year-old is still coming to terms with his meteoric rise since being brought in from the SAB under-21 league, starring in the MDC and now making his first team debut.
“Everything has happened very quickly. I did not anticipate turning professional in only my first MDC season," he added. "This was really unexpected but also rewarding because it shows that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed.
“Traveling with the first team players was an amazing experience but not completely new because during our away trips with the Multichoice Diski Challenge, we experienced the same admiration from our supporters.”
Maart added: "The real change of mindset came on the day of the match. I think that is when reality hit me. Sitting on the bench and seeing the stadium packed the way it was made it even more difficult to settle my nerves.
“When the coach called me to come on I became extremely nervous and I think the coach sensed it because he tried calming my nerves. He told me to relax and enjoy the last minutes of the match. The nerves kicked in again when the substitution board went up and my number was displayed in green next to the captain’s [Manyisa].
“Overall, I am thankful for the opportunity that the coach gave me and I look to build on this milestone. There is a lot of work to be done but I think I am ready. I feel there is more to come from me but I want to take things slowly and not get ahead of myself too soon.”