The 36-year-old, who scored the winning goal when Ajax Cape Town edged Kaizer Chiefs in the 2015 MTN8 final under De Sa’s guidance, has reunited with his former coach, coming out of retirement to join the newly-created National First Division outfit Cape Umoya following the relocation of the now-defunct Platinum Stars to Cape Town.
The Cape club has played out three draws over their opening three fixtures, with Paulse starting all three fixtures in succession, and scoring his side’s only goal of the season so far in their opening 1-1 draw with TS Galaxy.
De Sa knows he has to be careful in his utilisation of the forward, but also knows the value he gets from the veteran.
“Nathan is someone you hate to play against,” he said. “He is always a handful. But we know we have to be careful with him, and we have to be cautious. We have to save his legs, but then again, why not run him until he falls over? That’s what you do with a good horse, isn’t it? I still think he’s got something in him. Against Ajax [second game, a 0-0 draw] he was playing against a PSL back five and he was a handful. You’d never say he’s that age.”
Paulse retired at the end of the 2016/17 season, and busied himself doing punditry work on SuperSport TV, with De Sa indifferent regarding whether or not the striker’s one-year break worked to his advantage.
“If he hadn’t missed a year of football, he might’ve been even better,” De Sa said. “But maybe the break the year he missed was good for him, and might’ve given him a bit more energy.
“But of course we need to manage him, and we will. We will ice him up and keep him off the field for a couple of days, and bring him in when we need him.”
With the commencement of the FIFA international break, Cape Umoya – who currently sit 10th in the NFD standings – next host Richards Bay on Monday, 17 September.