He has come all the way from Uruguay and Peru to South Africa, and now Mauricio Affonso hopes to conquer Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns.
The 27-year-old striker made his debut for Masandawana at the weekend in a pre-season clash with TS Sporting in Nelspruit, which finished as a 1-1 draw.
Affonso, who hails from Uruguay, left Club Alianza Lima in Peru’s First Division to take on the challenge of playing for Sundowns, following in the footsteps of other South Americans such as Gaston Sirino, Ricardo Nascimento and Leonardo Castro.
“I am excited and I think I am adjusting well so far. The coach gave me 45 minutes, and I almost got a goal as well,” Affonso told the Sundowns website on Wednesday.
“What is important for me now is working on my fitness, but I feel I am well on my way there, because I never stopped training during the off-season.
“I believe my teammates will push me as well, because the level of skill here is very good.
“And being with them in Nelspruit was a good way to get to know everyone and see for myself the professionalism of all the players here.”
South African strikers battle to find the net at the best of times, with foreigners often the leading goal-scorer in the Premiership.
That was again the case last season, when Zambian Mwape Musonda netted 16 times for Black Leopards.
Affonso is keen to end high up on that list in the new campaign, and impress coach Pitso Mosimane.
“I have looked at the scoring record of previous top goal-scorers for the club, and it is very impressive. So, I hope to be part of that history,” he said.
“And I want to experience the continent as well, because I have heard a lot of stories, but I want to see it for myself when the season starts.
“I feel a little bit more settled now. I have found where I am going to stay and I can’t wait for the season to start, so I can contribute to the team’s success.
“I have also spoken to the coach about what he expects of me this season.”@ashfakmohamed