Supersport United’s new signing Tefu Mashamaite has dismissed claims that he decided to leave Sweden and come back home because he was homesick.
The 31-year-old has for the past year been playing for BK Hacken in Sweden’s topflight, but has now returned to South Africa and joined the Tshwane side on a two-year deal.
The move comes after Hacken sporting director Sonny Karlsson told the Swedish media that the player’s return to South Africa was because he had failed to settle in Sweden and was homesick.
“Well, I’m 31 and my journey right now is not about staying overseas or wherever for long to realise certain expectations but it is about what is in front of me,” Mashamaite responded at his unveiling.
“The SuperSport United opportunity came and I had to make a decision. It was not about homesickness and it was just about what’s in front of me. My stay in Sweden was short, but a great experience for me. We won the Swedish Cup and that’s the first in the history of Hacken.
“To come back with that bit of an achievement is a confidence-booster for me and I feel like I went there and contributed something,” he said.
Speaking of contributing, the club’s chief executive Stan Matthews believes Mashamaite has a big role to play, even though they were not desperate to get him on board as they wanted him in January.
“It wasn’t a hundred percent ideal for us to be very honest, because we’ve brought in Mario [Booysen] and Morgan [Gould], plus we’ve got one of the finest young central defenders in the country in our opinion in Denwin Farmer,” Matthews said.
“I think that the opportunity to bring in a player with the pedigree of Mashamaite was not really a problem for us. I think he’s got fantastic experience to share with Denwin and the other players at the back, which I think is going to be fantastic for them. He’s got great leadership qualities,” he said.
The club’s head coach Stuart Baxter is delighted to reunite with Mashamaite, but warned the defender that having worked together at Kaizer Chiefs did not mean he was guaranteed a place in the team.
“The positive of having worked with them [the former Chiefs players at SuperSport] is that they know what I want… On the other hand, you’ve got to get past the familiarity,” Baxter said.