Keene reveals Soweto Derby regret

Former SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits striker James Keene has admitted he would have loved to feature in a one of the biggest derbies in the world.

Keene recently returned to Europe, where he has since joined Swedish side Öster IF after leaving SuperSport upon the expiry of his one-year deal.

The 33-year-old returns to the Allsvenskan, where he last turned out for Elfsborg and Djurgaden, but has also previously had spells in England, Norway, Israel and India.

His time in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League yielded some success in the way of silverware, but Keene has admitted to missing out on what would have been an incredible experience of turning out for one of Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby.

“I’ve met some people here [in Sweden] and the first thing they talk about is the Soweto Derby,” Keene tells KickOff.com.

“I got to experience one by going to watch it but to play in one would have been special – one of the biggest derbies in the world between two of the biggest clubs in Africa.

“That would have been nice, absolutely, don’t get me wrong, but that’s football and I’m happy with the other things I achieved.

“I won the league and two cups with Wits and had a good year with SuperSport – making a cup final as well.”

Keene first arrived in South Africa as a trialist at Chiefs in 2015, when then coach Stuart Baxter was keen to bring him on board to bolster his options up-front.

But when Baxter left the club, the powers that be at Naturena turned down the chance to sign him, instead opting to bring in Bongani Ndulula and Camaldine Abraw.

Whether the Englishman has now closed the door on a return to the PSL in the future, he admits nothing is ever certain as things constantly change in football.

“In football it’s very hard to say never – you’re never going back or you’re never doing something, because you never really know yourself,” he adds.

“There weren’t any options for me [recently] but you never know going forward what will happen. In football things change fast – one coach goes and another comes in and you’re back in the picture.”

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