For a moment during Mamelodi Sundowns’ training session at their headquarters in Chloorkop on Thursday, Pitso Mosimane’s heart sat up in his throat.
An attacking move during a mini soccer match ended with Anthony Laffor down in a heap clutching his ankle.
The speed with which the medical team rushed to the Liberian’s rescue told the story of the player’s importance to the club.
He is, after all, one for the big occasions.
And even though they have already qualified for the CAF Champions League quarter-final, the Brazillians’ final group match against AS Vita Club tonight (7pm at Lucas Moripe Stadium) is still an important clash.
Sundowns are desperate to win so they can give themselves a chance of finishing top of the group.
And it is to the Liberian superstar (pictured) they will look for success given his penchant for delivering when it matters the most.
“I don’t know when he turns the magic on and off. All I know is that big games, he delivers,” Mosimane said afterwards before rattling out the numerous matches in which Laffor came to the fore.
The player himself, however, refuses to be boxed as just a “big game player”.
“I don’t know why people say that,” he laughs.
“As a footballer that’s my job, to score goals and create goals. Sometimes things don’t go well but for me. But I play against Cosmos I score goals; I play against Black Aces I score goals. So I don’t see why people say I rise to the big occasions.”
But you scored the winning goal at St George to earn Sundowns the quarter-final spot Anthony. Didn’t you come off the bench to score in Kampala? Oh and you scored against Zesco to take Sundowns to the final last year. Remember your opener against Zamalek? Surely you’ve not forgotten that strike against AmaTuks that delivered the local championship two seasons ago?
“It’s just that at the moment it is happening for me, I score goals. But last season in the campaign other players scored.”
He is grateful for it all though.
“I just wanna tell God thank you ... and I just want to say thank you to my teammates because they are helping me to score these goals.”
Those goals have helped ensure he is now Liberia’s only Champions League winner and sees him regarded as highly as the legendary George Weah.
It is an honour he has dreamed of as a youngster.
“It is something I always wanted to do as a kid growing up. I always wanted to play on the big stage and now it is happening for me because when I went home I met the president.
“My (Champions League winners’) medal, my jersey is now in the government museum, so 30-50 years from now - even when I die - it is still gonna be there. My children and the next generation are gonna see those things, you know.
“But I still want to achieve more and I believe we have talent in Liberia, so Liberians can go and achieve more. Now in Liberia people are saying it is Laffor and George Weah, now we need somebody to come out too and do something better for the country.”