For footballers, it’s always a dream come true when their childhood team shows interest in them. Therefore Fortune Makaringe heeded the call when Pirates asked him to trade the blue and white jersey of Midlands-based side Maritzburg United for the famous black and white jersey of Pirates from this season.
Makaringe joins an impeccable group of players who were Premiership runners-up the past two seasons.
Unlikely to fix it if it’s not broken, coach Micho Sredojevic will head into the new season banking on his usual guns to finally win the Premiership in his third season in charge.
However, far from despairing, Makaringe is confident he’ll fit in the team’s style of play, having previously admired from a distance.
“I think coming in here, I knew that Orlando Pirates have been doing well and me coming here was to add continuity to that,” he said.
“I think the coach (Sredojevic) mentioned that each and every player that they’d be signing would be part of the puzzle. I know that I am going to play alongside the best footballers in the country, and I’ll learn from them and the technical team.”
Eager to contribute to the team, Makaringe faces a tight competition for the starting berth from defensive midfielders Ben Motshwari, Musa Nyatama, Xola Mlambo and Linda Mntambo.
“Competition is always there and which is why I responded when Orlando Pirates called because I knew I was going to be playing alongside the best footballers in this country,” he added.
“One of the key things is the will to learn. I need to learn and grasp as much knowledge as possible. Being a bench-warmer doesn’t make you a bad player but it gives you a wide perspective of what’s happening inside. I am willing to take whatever comes.”
With his father a doting Buccaneer, and his mother a diehard Amakhosi supporter, the Makaringe household in Vosloorus, in the East Rand, will be divided over family allegiances should Makaringe make his Soweto derby debut when Pirates clash with old foes Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup at FNB Stadium this afternoon (3pm).
Makaringe is not in the starting line-up, but could come on as an impact player.
“It’s been years (since I wanted to be here). I played football because I wanted to play for Orlando Pirates,” he enthused. “Yes, life happens and you grow older and there are certain influences but it had never changed that my dream was to play for Orlando Pirates. I am home, and together with the other players we’ve been warmly welcomed. I am hoping that I’ll get the chance to make my debut against rivals (Chiefs).”