PLAYER PERSPECTIVE: SHUAIB WALTERS Follow on Twitter
We made the trip to Bloemfontein last weekend to play my former club, Bloemfontein Celtic. Playing Celtic is always bitter-sweet nostalgia and takes me back to my first years of playing professional football.
I remember everything being so new and I was really nervous and scared starting my professional career in a new city away from my family, who were my support structure. I was often homesick as I spent my time trying to find my way around a new city, adjusting new to a new team and way of playing football and still learning to be a better professional footballer.
Bloemfontein Celtic has a large supporter base and it is the supporters that will always be imprinted in my memory of my first time playing at the Celtic staduim. Experiencing the electric atmosphere, and how the ground literally shook beneath us when the fans were cheering and jumping up and down in the stands.
I never explored the city much, when living in Bloemfontein, and always felt like I missed out. So, on this trip I made it my mission to visit some local shops and markets. The highlight of my exploration was the Bloemfontein Zoo!
Walters makes a new friend and then celebrates an old friend's achievements
After being a tourist in my old home town, it was time to get serious. MATCH TIME!
I felt that during the first half, we were just going through the motions. The degree of urgency which we normally have with our games was missing.
The altitude in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria is different from that in Cape Town and affects us. It normally takes us some time to get used to, and this time was no different. 20 minutes into the game things started to pick up and Celtic created their first chance around the 25th minute.
Had the decision-making been better in the final third, they could have created more chances. In the second half one change was made in our play. We played with more aggression and a more attacking formation than in the first half which resulted in us creating more chances. We could have stolen it in the 83rd minute if the ball did not hit the post.
Celtic then created a chance in the 87th minute but was unsuccessful in putting the ball in the back of the net, all thanks to my skills (hahahaha). Overall I think a draw was a fair result as both teams played equally well. Celtic dominated the first half and our boys dominated the second half.
On to other exciting news! As you may have heard, I’ve received a call up for the National squad and flew to Johannesburg on Sunday to check into camp. While in Jozi, I decided to go watch the Wits and Al-Ahly game on Sunday afternoon as I am always grabbing any opportunity I get to support South African football in my spare time, and was thrilled that I was able to support our Caf contender Wits.
They were unfortunately not victorious. While watching the game I also bumped into this legend, Mr Zain Moosa himself. Next week will be about my time with the National Squad!
On a more serious note, the fires in Mandela Park Hout Bay has left many homeless and without basic necessities. I would like to personally urge my fellow Capetonians to please assist in any way. Volunteer or donate the following: water, hot meals, food parcels, blankets, tents, clothing, building material and hygiene packs.
Till next week!!
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