JOHANNESBURG - Former Orlando Pirates left-back Patrick Phungwayo doesn’t consider his stay with the Buccaneers a failure. Phungwayo is now plying his trade with Free State Stars where he is getting regular game time.
At Pirates his progress was consistently hampered by injuries, while the form of Thabo Matlaba made matters worse for Phungwayo. Phungwayo spoke to Independent Media in Durban after Free State Stars match against Kaizer Chiefs this past weekend at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“I enjoyed every moments with Pirates. People don’t understand, you learn so much in football, especially with the team like Pirates. I’ve learnt so much. I’ve grown as a player. I’m matured now. I don’t think there’s any situation that I could face and defeat me," he said.
"Pirates has done so much for me as a player. I’ve taken the opportunity and I’m grateful. I went to how many finals with Pirates? I was out for nine months. I had injuries but I went to finals with Pirates. I went to five finals with Pirates. I could have had the star but it wasn’t to be.
"I had my fair chance at Pirates and I’m happy with my contribution and what I learnt,” Phungwayo said.
Phungwayo has been one of the stand out performers for Stars this season. This past weekend they played to a 1-1 stalemate with Chiefs.
“My goal and objective this season is to get regular game time and improve as a player. Other achievements after that will be a bonus for me. I’m glad that I’m enjoying football again. It wasn’t an easy decision to make when I decided to leave Pirates.
"It is actually the first time I’m playing outside of Johannesburg, if I don’t count the time I spent overseas (in Greece). I’ve always been in Johannesburg. It wasn’t an easy decision but I took it and I’m reaping the benefits,” Phungwayo elaborated.
Phungwayo replaced Puleng Tlhone at Stars - the latter is now at Bidvest Wits, where is struggling for game time.
“It is good that I’m improving in each and every game. The confidence is coming back. The coach believes in me. For me it is so far, so good. Players come and go in football. You can’t stay at one club forever. If it is time to move on, you need to move on ... It was a great decision to leave Pirates.
"I’m enjoying football now and the team is doing well so far. Obviously we have an ambition which is to reach Top 8. We are not off track and we have to keep on winning games,” Phungwayo explained.