The Bafana Bafana skipper appears relaxed amid a weight of expectations on him from the demanding Buccaneers fans
Orlando Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo says he will not be weighed down by the pressure that comes with playing for a traditional giant like his new club.
The 30-year-old centre-back feels that he can be a game-changer at Pirates and would bring “something different” to the club.
“Obviously I believe I have grown as a player, as a human being and as a sportsman,” Hlatshwayo told Marawa Sports Worldwide on Metro FM.
“Coming to a big team like Pirates, what I bring is what I have acquired from all the teams I have played for before. There was a lot of questions that were asked; ‘are you going to handle the pressure?’
“I said what we do here in football is what we love with our passion so pressure will be someone outside, a father that can’t afford to feed his family, that is pressure. What I bring here coming to Orlando Pirates, I’m here to contribute to what the team has done so well, so far. I’m here to bring something different from what they have always had.”
Hlatshwayo arrives at Pirates, whose last major trophy was the 2014 Nedbank Cup, and last won the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title in 2012.
The Buccaneers have began preparations for the upcoming season which kicks off on October 17 with the MTN8 quarter-finals.
But Pirates fans are likely to have already watched him in action in Saturday’s CBL Cup showdown against Kaizer Chiefs.
“The pre-season has been good, the welcoming has been nice and easy,” said Hlatshwayo.
“I say easy because I have a lot of guys who I know, who I have played against, played with them, friends on and off the field. So the pre-season has been good. Obviously it is different as compared to where I am coming from in terms of the style of play and everything.
“So far, so good I am trying to adjust as quick as possible. Now we don’t have time so I want to make sure that by the time the league starts I would have adjusted well.”
In the MTN8 Cup quarter-finals, Pirates have been paired against Cape Town City.