JOHANNESBURG – Dean Furman’s “welcoming committee” to South African football made him a victim on the website that helped him get in touch with the country of his birth.
The 29-year-old, who was born in Cape Town but grew up in England, looked up the national anthem on Youtube to learn the words for his first call-up against Australia in 2012.
Three years later he signed for SuperSport and Mark Mayambela welcomed him with a shibobo that went viral after making him dance with his skills.
“I’ve had to adapt as a player and as a person,” Furman said.
“I knew the country when I came to South Africa but I wasn’t immersed in it. I’ve had to adapt to the culture and the way the boys play here. I’ve had to adapt my game accordingly. It certainly has made me a better player.”
Since then Furman has produced performances and accumulated accolades he wouldn’t mind seeing over and over again on Youtube.
The bustling midfielder has lifted two trophies - Nedbank Cup triumphs in 2016 and 2017 - as SuperSport captain. He is looking to make it three tonight at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium in the MTN8 final against Cape Town City.
“That’s what I came here for after I sat down with Stan Mathews, the CEO,” Furman said.
“He said to me, ‘come and let us win stuff’. He told me SuperSport is very strong and we can go on to be very successful. So far, we’ve done that.
“But we want more. We are not resting on what we have done, and hopefully we'll lift the MTN8. It’s all there for us. We just have to continue performing the way we have.”
Matsatsantsa a Pitori have become cup specialists. This is their third successive final appearance after reaching the Telkom Knockout final in December last year and winning the Nedbank Cup in May.
Furman admits there will be an element of revenge against “The Citizens”.
If it wasn’t for them, Matsatsantsa would have finished last season with two trophies had the Capetonians not spoiled their party in the Telkom Knockout.
But SuperSport were their own worst enemy in the last campaign. They looked like they would finally land the Absa Premiership title that has eluded them since 2010.
They spent the better part of that season among the championship challengers, even going on a 19-match unbeaten run to equal Kaizer Chiefs’ record. But too many draws and losing games they shouldn’t have towards the end saw them finish in fifth place.
Being that close to the main prize but not close enough has prepared them well for the MTN8 that sees the losing finalists pocket as much as the team that bowed out in the first round (R800 000) while the winners get a cool R8 million along with the trophy.
“We were top of the league for a long time, but what do we have to show for it? Nothing. It’s about being clinical at the right time,” Furman said. “It’s about, when not at your best for one reason or the other, finding a way to win.
“We went to Zesco (United in Zambia in the CAF Confederation Cup) and we didn’t play our best football but we managed to get the result and move to the semi-finals.
“We have big players who know how to rise to the occasion.
“When I look at the big games we have played over the last few years, the bigger the game the more we rise to the occasion.”