Cafu itching to pick up where he left off

SA Players Abroad

Having strung together a number of Man of the Match awards before the season was suspended, Belenenses star Thibang Phete is looking to pick up where he left off when the Portuguese top-flight resumes next month. 

Phete joined Belenenses on loan from fellow Primeira Liga side Famalicao in January and delivered back-to-back Man of the Match performances against Boavista and Maritimo before the league was suspended on 12 March.

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With the league now set to return on 4 June, "Cafu", as he is affectionately known, has revealed his excitement to get back on the pitch and return to the form that had seen him throw his name into contention for a possible Bafana Bafana call-up.

"I'm really excited to be back," the Kimberley-born defender tells

"We miss playing and all that, and I think it will be good for our careers also to get back as soon as possible. I think it's very important.

"And yeah, of course, I don't have a choice [but to hit the ground running]. I need to pick up where I left off, no choice!"

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Since joining Belenenses, Phete has primarily been deployed as a right-sided centre-back, whereas during the early stages of his career with former club Vitoria Guimaraes, he had often been used in a defensive midfield role. 

"The problem is that whenever the coach plays me in midfield, then he likes me and I stay there," the 26-year-old explains when asked about his favoured role.

"Then when he puts me at centre-back he likes me and I play there! I think it depends on the coach as well [but] I'm just happy to be playing and to be enjoying football. It doesn't really matter in which position."

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Regardless of his position on the pitch, the former Milano United star is focussed on maintaining his form in order to help Belenenses stave off the threat of relegation.

"The goal is to continue with our performances," Phete says, reflecting on the side's current four-match unbeaten run in the league.

"As long as we continue with the good performances we will be safe on the log. That's the objective of the team."