JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits midfielder Daylon Claasen doesn’t have any regrets after joining the Braamfontein-based club at the beginning of last season following his nine-year-stint abroad.
It’s been a roller-coaster of results for Claasen since his homecoming; firstly with the burden of failing to inspire Wits to retain their Absa Premiership title last season.
While on the other hand, he played in the final of the Telkom Knockout tournament that they won 1-0 after Vincent Pule came on for him scored the solitary goal.
“Coming back home was not a step back for me,” Claasen insists. “I am happy at Wits, and looking forward to playing again. I wanted to come home because I was missing being back here a lot, and I was just tired (of being away from family). One of the reasons why I do not regret coming back is because there’s so much talent here but it’s just that we don’t get the same opportunities as the guys in Europe.”
He has missed the start of this season due to a long-term injury he suffered towards the end of last term, hence there’s been a new strong partnership forming between Thabang Monare and Cole Alexander in the middle of the park. The duo have been instrumental in Wits’ fine start that have seen them summit of the table so far after collecting 17 points from nine matches. However, far from worry, the Klerksdorp-born footballer believes that his time will come.
“The guys are doing very well, hence the team has also done well so far compared to last season,” Claasen said. “There’s competition now in the team, and that will motivate the rest of the guys to work harder.”
Most South African footballers who’ve bagged European contracts have endured unpleasant norms of short- lived agreements with clubs before eventually returning to the PSL. And as such, that has deprived the national team of international experience within the squad. However, that wasn’t the case for the 28-year-old midfielder who’s plied his trade in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Germany.
“I went there when I was 18 years old, that helped me to settle in well and adapt fast,” he said. “When you are old, you become set in your ways, and at 21 - 22 years old, you already have your own mind-set. However, we cannot fault anyone based on their age because there are different factors that can cause you to come back earlier.”
One player who’s currently making rounds in Belgian football is Percy Tau with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, following his one-season-long loan deal from English side Brighton and Hove Albion. After eight matches, Tau has registered four assists and two goals so far; and as a result, Claasen has tipped the Bafana forward to succeed abroad.