Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes says the prospect of playing in the GladAfrica Championship is what pushed him into leaving Black Leopards after two years with the club.
Mendes has returned home to his adopted homeland Portugal from where he is now plotting his next move.
"The contract with Leopards expired last month. There was an option on the contract, but it didn’t have figures," Mendes tells KickOff.com from Portugal.
"In any case, I didn’t want to stay there because the club is now going to be playing in the second division which is not good for me as a national team goalkeeper.
"They sent me a letter stating that they wanted me to stay but I told them that I don’t want to stay in the second division."
Mendes played 37 games for Leopards through his two years at the club, which he describes as having been both different and difficult.
"I learnt a lot of things in situations that I faced there because it is different to where I come from. It was a good experience about soccer and life because when we face new things it makes us think differently to what we are used to.
"When I was in Polokwane, I faced some situations that made me see life in a different way. What is very good for me now is that I am a different person in a better way. It was difficult for me to understand sometimes but it was a good experience.
"Yes, I was born in Africa but I grew up in Europe and the truth is that the reality is different. Sometimes things happened there and I asked myself how this is possible," he adds.
"Yet, when I sit and think about the situation, I get to think that maybe they grew up doing things like this so I cannot come here and change them. I just need to learn and keep going.
"I don’t want to play in Portugal, and I will rather play away. That is my hope now. If I don’t get anything away, then I will get a club here in Portugal where I will play in the lower divisions because after going out of the country it is not easy to get back in here. It would have been different if I had been playing here in Portugal last season."