Kaizer Chiefs defender Yagan Sasman is aware of the ordeal that has seen a number of Cape Town-born footballers fail to cut the mustard in Johannesburg.
It’s always considered a dream move when a footballer from anywhere in the country joins one of the big guns in Gauteng, a province that’s deemed to be a hub of South African football.
However, a number of Capetonians have failed to cope with the demands that Gauteng-based clubs present, falling down the pecking order and subsequently kicking their heels in the stands before a deal to return home is struck.
Sasman took the challenge head on though. The 23-year-old joined Chiefs in early August from second division side Ajax Cape Town, an institution he’s called home since cutting his teeth in football at the age of 11.
The Capetonian has made a seamless adaptation at Amakhosi, playing a starring role in defence during his team’s recent three-match winning streak in the Premiership.
“I have heard the saying ‘Cape Town players can’t survive in Johannesburg’ a lot but I feel it’s up to the player (to make his mark). We are not the same. But it’s something that I think about in each and every game. But I think that you are always as good as your last game,” Sasman explained.
The magnitude of this move doesn’t overwhelm Sasman, instead it’s the fuel that will drive him to continue making the best out of his time with the most successful team in domestic football.
“Coming to Johannesburg from Cape Town, it’s always a difficult experience. But you need to get used to it as soon as possible. And luckily, I’ve (already) gotten used to playing for Chiefs and I’m enjoying my football here,” he said.
Today, Sasman will return to the Mother City wearing his heart on the Chiefs sleeve as they begin their Telkom Knockout campaign against Cape Town City.
Having not participated in the Premiership tussle between the two teams early this season, this will be the first time Sasman dons Chiefs’ black and gold jersey in front of his home supporters and family, who ensured they got their tickets immediately after the draw a fortnight ago.
“I hope I’ll get an opportunity to play in Cape Town. And it will be a privilege for me to play in front of my home fans and family,” he said.
The Chiefs-City tussle in the TKO last 16 at Cape Town Stadium today (3pm) presents a chance to test the mettle of Sasman, who has ambitions that his name will be part of the generation that ended the club’s four-year drought.
With Chiefs barely feeling the disadvantage of playing away from home due to the ample following, they’ll be hoping that the thousands that will fill Cape Town Stadium get their money’s worth against City, who are winless in five games.
Citizens striker Siphelele Mthembu opened up about their game plan for this afternoon, saying they’ll be hoping to frustrate Chiefs in the first 20 minutes before fully taking control of the game.
Sasman has, however, put his head on the block, believing they’ve got a potent attack that can score at any time of the game.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game. But we can score any time of the game, whether it’s the first or second half,” he said.
“We do create opportunities all the time, and if we take care of the opportunities then we can kill off the game early.”