Thabo Qalinge credits Orlando Pirates teammates for strong form
Posted: 30 October 2017 Time: 13:45
Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge remains grounded after winning his second straight man-of-the-match award on the weekend.
Qalinge scored in the 1-0 win over Golden Arrows on Saturday as Bucs advanced to the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout where they will meet Polokwane City.
'Section 10', who also impressed in the recent Soweto Derby stalemate, struck in the 35th minute when he clipped the ball over the onrushing Nkosingiphile Gumede after receiving a searching pass from Bucs captain Thabo Matlaba.
Qalinge earlier hit the upright with an audacious header when back-pedalling to get on the end of a delivery from Mpho Makola at Princess Magogo Stadium.
He could have completed a brace in the 50th minute but the ball got stuck under his feet in the box after some quick interplay in KwaMashu.
“I must give it [credit] to my teammates. They’re the ones who are helping me to grow my game. The opportunity that I get from the coach, I should appreciate it and try to at least pay him back by playing well,” said Qalinge, who was also named man of the match in a goalless draw with Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium last month.
“I’d say being injury-free has helped me a lot because since the season started I haven’t been injured, it’s positive.”
The Soweto-born attacker joined Pirates from Mpumalanga Black Aces at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign. He’s currently donning jersey number 15, which was previously worn by the likes of Jerry 'Legs of Thunder' Sikhosana, Benedict 'Tso' Vilakazi and Andile Jali.
Qalinge, however, is seemingly not feeling the weight of the number.
“I mean, the number doesn’t play football. I can wear number two, number three, it’s me playing, not the jersey number,” he countered.
“Of course it is important to the team, important to me as well, but it doesn’t play the football. So I just have to go there on the field and do my work and forget about the number.”
Pirates will be banking on Qalinge to maintain his fine form when they host outgoing CAF Champions League champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday at Orlando Stadium.