Former Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus on Rennes exit

The Port Elizabeth-born player would be happy to reunite with his former coach at Toulouse, although he feels he was pushed at Rennes

South Africa international Kermit Erasmus feels that he left Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates at the right time.

The well-travelled striker was sold to French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais by Bucs in January 2016, soon after helping the club reach the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup final - where they lost to Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel. 

"Basically, I was playing in something similar to the Europa League, but we call it the Africa Confederation Cup, and I was playing with Orlando Pirates. An agent from South Africa was contacted for a player with certain qualities, and he referred me to them," Erasmus told Get French Football News. 

"They had a look at me. They came to some of the Confederation Cup games, [and] fortunately we went all the way to the final. So, they could see more of me, up until the final and they were satisfied with what they saw. Then they came to South Africa and started speaking with me and negotiate with my club in South Africa. My ambition was to come back to Europe and I couldn’t find anything. Fortunate enough, that came up and it was an opportunity for me to grab," he explained. 

Erasmus endured a difficult spell at Rennais, and the club terminated his contract in February 2018 having failed to make an appearance last season.

The 28-year-old, who had spent the second half of the 2016/17 season on loan at French Ligue 2 outfit RC Lens, believes that he was pushed out of Rennais. 

"They gave me the permission to seek playing time, and that’s when I went to Lens. When they pushed me it was really towards my last year, in January (2018). How I was treated then, that’s when I felt there was no respect between them and me," he revealed. 

"They did the usual. What you have seen happen, what’s common in football, when the club is not interested or don’t see you having a future as an impact player for the team, they move you to the youth dressing room, and you change and play with the youth team, the basic things. I felt there was no respect. When (Sabri) Lamouchi came in, after the first three days of his arriving, we trained with him, I could see the same thing happening to me that happened to me with (Christian) Gourcuff (former Rennais coach)," Erasmus said. 

"I sat with him, and I asked him the same question I asked Gourcuff, 'what do I need to do to get my chance, because I feel like the same thing is going to happen to me that has happened before?' He told me the same thing [that] he sees me as a quality player, but he wants me to work harder and show more and express myself more. This was like on a Friday, and on a Sunday, he was to select 25 players to go on a three-day training camp because he had just arrived in the middle of the season, and then Sunday evening, we were in a WhatsApp group, and we got a message with the names of 25 players going on the training camp, and I wasn’t one of those players," he disclosed. 

"That’s when I felt there was no respect. Be honest with me. I am a man. Have the balls to tell me that you don’t see me in your plans, that you don’t need me as a player, then I know where I stand. That’s when I felt there was no respect. That’s the only time that I was really unhappy with what was said between me and him. Throughout my whole stay at Rennes I tried to be as professional as possible even though it was difficult," Erasmus said. 

"So that they can terminate your contract and don’t have to pay. I stayed as professional as possible regardless of the situation. That’s the only thing I can do; work hard, because at the end of the day, my life continues after the club, my career continues after the club. The most important thing for me was to work hard and keep my fitness levels high to put me in good shape for whatever was next in store for me," he added.

Erasmus, who joined Swedish Superettan outfit AFC Eskilstuna a month after leaving Rennais, would love to work with his former coach at Lens, Alain Casanova again.

The diminutive marksman enjoyed regular game time under Casanova at Lens where he made 12 appearances in all competitions - netting once in the process.

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French tactician Casanova is now in charge of Ligue 1 side Toulouse, who managed to retain its status in the top flight after defeating AC Ajaccio in the promotional/relegation play-offs last May.

Asked whether or not he would be interested in teaming up with Casanova at Toulouse, Erasmus said: "Why not, I have had the best time of my career in France playing for him. That would be a fairy-tale, if that could happen."

Erasmus has hit the back of the net twice in 11 matches for Superettan matches thus far.