Since joining AmaZulu from development side Durban Warriors on a three-year contract at the start of the season, Philani Cele has already made a good impression in his first few appearances for the club.
AmaZuluFC.net spoke to the 25-year-old to find out how he is adjusting to the Premier Soccer League.
AmaZuluFC.net: How are you adapting to life in the top league?
Philani Cele: I’d say playing in the PSL is a big challenge because the competition is tight in the squad and you also get to face talented players every week.
So, as a player, you have to continue pushing yourself and make sure you improve with every game you play.
AmaZuluFC.net: When you joined the team you were a prolific striker, but now you’re a defender, how has that change been for you?
PC: When I joined the team I was a striker but I was converted into a defender and I worked hard during preseason and I think I’ve adapted well to my new role.
I think being able to play in different positions is an advantage for me and also an advantage for the team.
I still have room for improvement but I’m surrounded by experienced players and I try to learn as much as I can at training and during games.
AmaZuluFC.net: During the 2-1 win over Moroka Swallows, you started at the back but we saw you adding numbers upfront towards the end of the game, is that something you’re hoping to do more regularly?
PC: I’m comfortable playing at the back now but depending on the game and what the coach wants, then I still have the ability to play in an attacking role.
I’ll concentrate on doing my job as a defender but I know I’m capable of scoring goals, so I hope I’ll be able to contribute when I can; if a chance comes my way then I’ll take it.
AmaZuluFC.net: What are you hoping to achieve in your debut season with Usuthu?
PC: I have to continue working hard because this is just the beginning.
Playing in a professional team doesn’t mean you have to relax, but it means you have to work even harder and make good use of your opportunities.
I have to give more than hundred percent in everything that I do, make sure that I always go the extra mile and keep challenging myself as an individual, which is going to help the team in the end.
I have ambitions of playing in big leagues and also playing for the national team one day, but everything depends on how I carry myself with AmaZulu and how I perform at this early stage of my career.
AmaZuluFC.net: The season has not started well in terms of results?
PC: We are really unhappy about the results because we feel that our overall game has not been as bad as it looks on paper.
We’ve been trying to keep our spirits high and we have worked hard to improve our communication so we can work as a team and I hope it will show on the field.