Lebohang “Cheeseboy” Mokoena insists he still has what it takes to compete at the top level as he sets out on his new career at Ajax Cape Town‚ with a debut possibly coming against his former club Orlando Pirates in the Mother City on Tuesday night.
I believe in my ability and I still have what it takes. I’m ready to contribute to the team. I feel I’ve settled in well enough and my priority now is making sure we get three points from our first game‚” he said on Thursday.
Mokoena’s career in the top-flight stretches back 16 years‚ having made his debut at the age of 17 for Pirates in the early rounds of the 2004 African Champions League.
More regular time on the field is top priority for the speedy wide player‚ who turns 30 later this month.
“It’s all about game time. The more you play‚ the more confident you become. I’m going to try and get in as many games as I can‚ even if I’m hobbling around with a broken leg!”
“My career has had a few bumps in the road‚ I had a bad injury that kept me out for a long time and when I came back I helped the team (Mamelodi Sundowns in 2014) to win the title. I also had times when I was not given a chance.”
“But now I have an opportunity not only for myself but also for the young guys at Ajax to learn from me. We senior players at the club have a responsibility to help the youngsters.”
Mokoena has been asked by Ajax coach Roger de Sa to mentor the many academy players who have been promoted to the first team this season.
“Most people now see me as an old player but that’s maybe because I was already playing at 15 and 16.
“I am thankful to the Ajax chairman (Ari Efstathiou) for the opportunity to be part of this awesome setup. I’ve settled in well and I am enjoying the environment. I’m ready to contribute to the team