JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates’ defender Justice Chabalala is happy to be getting game time with the reserve side and sees that as a stepping ladder of getting back into the Premiership side.
The 25-year-old is yet to taste first team action this season since returning from a six month loan spell with Chippa United.
The lanky defender arrived at Pirates in the 2016/2017 season from Free State Stars and quickly established himself as a first team regular. Back to back Man-of-the-Match awards endeared him to the Bucs faitfhful and he too must have thought he had done enough to cement his place in the team.
Then came the shock of his being shipped to the Chilli Boys in the January transfer window period on a loan deal. That though is all in the past, and Chabalala is rather grateful for the MultiChoice Diski Challenge game-time that will pave the way for him to get back to the senior team structures.
"There are too many defenders in the senior team and I understand it’s up to the coach (to choose who he plays). I am happy because they give me to chance to play in the MDC, to show that I am a quality player. I know I can do very well,’’ Chabalala said.
"I just have show the coach I can play in the first team and compete with the rest of the players. It will be up the the senior coaches to give me the go ahead. I am patiently waiting for my time to play with the first team to come.’’
And Chabalala believes it’s a matter of time before he gets that call from coach Milutin Sredojevic.
"He’s a good coach (Sredojevic), together with (assistant) coach (Rhulani) Mokwena. I also like (assistant) coach Benson (Mhlongo). Coach Mhlongo likes to tell me, ’don’t worry, give your best and your time is going to come soon and we will take you back’.
"I know my time will come soon and I will show my quality like I did before I went to Chippa. It's football, sometimes you have to take it when you are not playing. But don’t stop working hard when you are sidelined.’’
To move from the sidelines and back to the elite league where he will fight for a starting berth against the likes of Ayanda Gcaba, Happy Jele, Gladwin Shitolo and Abbubaker Mobara, Chabalala has to help the Pirates reserves move up the MDC table from their fifth spot.