Why I've been absent from league leaders

Players Abroad

Currently ahead of Benfica and Porto in the Primeira Liga, a South African talent is relishing his chance with the surprise package of European football threatening to shake up the established order in Portugal.

Thibang Phete, 25, ended his four-year stay with Vitória Guimarães in the off-season to join newly promoted side Famalicão - who are unbeaten at the summit of the Portuguese top-flight after seven rounds of fixtures.

Led by João Pedro Sousa, the long-term assistant of Everton manager Marco Silva, the side who returned to LigaNos for the first time in 25 years, have stunned onlookers across the continent.

The 'big three' have won every league title bar two since 1934 - but Phete's side early form this season has created a sense of excitement after a famous win over Sporting before the international break.

And now, after recovering from an injury suffered in pre-season, the Stars of Africa academy graduate is raring to contribute to their cause.

"Everything is going well here, my team is in first place, even though I haven't been playing because I just came back from a [hamstring] injury," he tells KickOff.com.

"I think I'll get my chance soon, everything is going well, I got back last week to first-team training.

"At the moment, the coach has fielded me at centre-back in training but there are times where I also switch to right-back and defensive midfield. But the indications he's given me is that I will be utilised in central defence."

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The three-year deal signed prior to the new season was a real indication of their confidence in Phete's ability and remarkably at 25 he's one of the senior figures in a squad with an average age of 23.

"I think [what makes us different] we have the youngest team in the league right now. It's a group that only wants to play, enjoying football without fear, playing with freedom.

"And we also have to give credit to the coach who's been a great motivator and source of encouragement.

"Right now, we don't care that we are number one, we don't look at the table, we just go out there to enjoy our football."

Phete will be aiming to make his debut for the club this Sunday, when they face off against Lusitania Lourosa in the Portuguese Cup.

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