Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus expects his good friend Mame Niang to make an immediate hit at his new club Mamelodi Sundowns.
The two former SuperSport United teammates who spent two seasons together at the Pretoria club formed a strong bond off the pitch and have often been seen on social networking sites posing together.
Niang, 30, signed for the defending Premiership champions earlier this month in a move which surprised many, considering Niang’s age.
Erasmus felt the former SuperSport United attacker still had plenty to offer Sundowns, particularly in the Caf Champions League.
“I’m happy for him. It’s a good move for him because there’s one cup he wants to win and that’s the Champions League,” Erasmus said on Wednesday.
“If you look at his age, it’s a good move. He’s still got a good couple of years to play and I think he can contribute a lot to the Sundowns team, especially going into Africa.
“He’s got the mentality and the drive. He’s a strong African boy and I’m looking forward to seeing him in Africa.”
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane made no secret of his intentions to use the tall and powerful Niang during the continental tournament next year, as Sundowns look to match their more physical counterparts on the continent.
Erasmus said he and Niang had spoken about the potential move for some time, before the deal was announced by the Brazilians.
“It’s something we spoke about. He asked me what I thought about him going there. I told him not to go there and just make up the numbers, but show his worth to the team,” Erasmus added.
While on the subject of SuperSport, Erasmus was quick to dismiss any lingering thoughts of his time at the club, preferring instead to talk about his time at Pirates, who he joined exactly a year ago.
“SuperSport’s in the past now, I’ve moved on from that. I’m at a club now where my life has changed drastically.
“People get to notice me more and to respect me and admire me more. It’s just a privilege to play for such a big club.
“Sometimes I feel I should have made the move earlier to this team. I’m just hoping to contribute positively to the team.”
Pirates face SuperSport United in the opening round of the MTN8 on Saturday and Erasmus will be eager to pick up where he left off at the end of last season, when he netted a superb brace to guide the Buccaneers to the Nedbank Cup title in May.
“It’s a good thing that we have a head start in front of all of the other eight teams in preparation for the league.
“We’re happy with the preparations leading up to the game on the weekend, we’re looking forward to it and the boys have been waiting for the season to start.” – Sapa