Kaizer Chiefs striker Gustavo Paez thanks coach Steve Komphela for faith shown in him
Gustavo Paez believes that he can play a more influential role for Kaizer Chiefs having adjusted well to South African football and established himself as a first team regular.
Fourth-placed Chiefs meet Lamontville Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on Saturday night with their Absa Premiership title hopes fading from two crippling results in the past fortnight.
Amakhosi conceded last-gasp goals in a 3-2 away defeat against Cape Town City and 2-2 draw against SuperSport United in Nelspruit‚ and with 46 points from 26 games are eight points adrift of leaders Bidvest Wits.
Paez‚ though‚ has settled well at Amakhosi and‚ despite doubts about the journeyman Venezuelan striker’s scoring record‚ has increasingly timed his runs better to the players around him‚ and chipped in with four league and cup goals.
Paez professed himself happy with his world-class surroundings at Chiefs headquarters in Naturena. He said the faith shown by Amakhosi coach Steve Komphela helped bridge an awkward adjustment phase early at Chiefs.
“When my agent told me about South Africa it was a far place for me as a South American player‚” he said.
“But when I arrived I saw the club‚ organisation‚ I saw a professional team‚ and I liked it and thought‚ ‘Why not’.
“And then when I saw on TV the replay of the matches I liked the football here. There are very good teams and players‚ very technical.
“I have signed for two-and-a-half years‚ and I am happy. Maybe if I have the opportunity for more‚ for me it’s OK.
“It was difficult because when I arrived the team had about eight strikers. We are friends but we fight for places in the starting XI.
“Steve is a very intelligent coach. He knows how to use me. When I started I was playing 10 or 20 minutes‚ and that’s what I needed.
“I started to get confidence and to score and make an impact. Now I think I am prepared to play more‚ and maybe play 90 minutes‚ this season or maybe next season.
“The coach believed in me. He took the decision to sign me. And I believe in him also.”
Paez concedes that four games might not be enough for Chiefs to reel in the top teams.
“We dropped important games in the last minutes. If we won those matches‚ and counting those points‚ maybe we could be in second position‚” he said.
“It’s difficult – we know that. But there are four matches we have to play‚ and if we have possibilities we have to try.”
Ninth-placed Arrows are coming off a 3-1 away defeat against Polokwane City and 2-0 home loss against Mamelodi Sundowns since a 1-0 home win against Platinum Stars on April 22.
- Tiso Black Star Group Digital/Tiso Black Star Group Sport
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