Claasen: It's a big relief

Claasen joined the Absa Premiership champions at the start of the season after a nine-year spell abroad, as Gavin Hunt looked to retain the title for a second consecutive season.

However, things have not exactly gone according to plan for the Clever Boys, who find themselves precariously in 14th position after 20 games.

The 28-year-old former Ajax Amsterdam attacking midfielder has also drifted in and out of the starting line-up, struggling get into his stride, until recently.

Claasen has returned from the mid-season break in inspired form – featuring in the full 90 minutes in all of Wits’ five league games in 2018 – and bagged his first PSL goal in their 4-1 thrashing of SuperSport United last week.

He immediately followed that performance up with a man-of-the-match display, pulling the strings from central midfield as Wits played to a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs over the weekend.

“My first goal was a big relief for myself and the team, so I hope I can score more and more. But, it’s not only about me, I think the team has done well since we came back from the break,” Claasen tells

Refusing to take credit for his individual performances, the Bafana Bafana attacker insists his focus remains on helping the team stretch their five-match unbeaten run and move to safer ground on the log.

“I’m happy I can play and contribute in some way. The man of the man awards – I appreciate it but when I play I don’t think of that. All I think about is helping the team play well and getting three points; the rest is just a bonus.

“Hopefully we continue with our good run. We just drew against Chiefs [in the last match] and we’re picking up points slowly but surely, which will help us out of this slump.”

The diminutive playmaker made the most successful passes (48) of any player on the park at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday, but saw plenty of wasted opportunities.

Despite his work not bearing fruit, Claasen – the nephew of former Orlando Pirates midfielder Brandon Silent – says the team continues to work on their finishing in training but he refuses to cast the blame on those not making use of his supply.

“No, I can’t blame anyone. We’re all working on our finishing every day in training and it’s coming along, as you can see, because we’re scoring goals and winning games,” he defends.

“It means we’re doing something right. We‘re not happy with our position on the log yet, but we just have to continue what we’re doing and the goals and results will come.

“Football is an unpredictable game, so we will take each game as it comes and try our best to improve on our weaknesses and hopefully move up the table.”