Pule is Amakhosi Mag Player of the Season
Pule is Amakhosi Mag Player of the Season

Posted in News on Jun 02, 2002.

Midfield sensation Jabu Pule has been voted Amakhosi Magazine Player of the Season by the readers of the popular monthly magazine ahead of Arthur Zwane, Stanton Fredericksand Cyril Nzama.

Congratulations on winning the Amakhosi Magazine Player of the Season…

I am very happy to be voted Amakhosi Player of the Year. This is really an honour for me and I would like to thank my teammates, the Chiefs management, the supporters and my girlfriend Lerato as she has always been behind me through think and thin.

Your feeling about winning the PSL Players’ Player of the Season?

I was not there to receive the award as I was in camp with Bafana Bafana but I was very excited to hear that I was voted Players’ Player of the Season. My son Jabu Jnr has been an inspiration lately and I would like to dedicate this award to him.

And your selection to the World Cup squad…

At first I did not really believe it when I saw my name in the list. Not that I did not have confidence in myself. It has always been my aim throughout the season to win a place in the national team and go to the World Cup. I think my hard work has finally rewarded.

But getting selected to the World Cup squad is not the end of my dream. I still have to work hard and contribute positively to our campaign. Overall I still have a lot to learn and going to the World Cup will give me a perfect opportunity.

Did it come as a surprise?

Yes and no. A surprise in the sense that I knew there were a lot of potential players competing for places in the national team and for me to be beat that kind of competition was great. Not surprised in that it was my aim to make it to the World Cup.

Your view on Bafana opponents (Paraguay, Spain and Slovenia) at the World Cup?

Honestly I don’t know much about Paraguay and Slovenia I only hear that they are good side. I only know that Spain is a god side and they have quality players in top European leagues.

But this is football and we cannot go there ready for defeat just because it’s Spain. If we take our chances and play together as a team and work for each other we can beat any country on the day.

Among the five African countries, who has the best chance of making to the semifinals?

The all have an equal opportunity because I believe it’s not easy to predict who will win in a tournament like the World Cup. If you look at South American qualifying games, Ecuador who are not such a big name in football terms but they were able to beat former world champions Brazil.

How was it like playing alongside Bhele in the game against Madagascar after such a long time?

It’s always great to play alongside Bhele as it brings back good memories from the past. We both understand each other very well. In a way I would say we have a telepathic understanding of each other because when he is in possession I almost know what his next move is likely to be and this is good for the team.

He knows my strengths and I also know his strength and we are always encouraging each other. When he is not at his best and struggling to lift his game I always try to lift him and he also does the same for me when I am not at my best. We treat each other like blood brothers.

You were selected for Mali 2002 and stayed away. There were many conflicting reports. What is the true story?

I was disappointed for not making it to Mali but for now I prefer to focus on the World Cup.

Your experience in the Bafana camp. What have you learned from mixing with other national team players?

You certainly do learn a lot. There’s a number of players like Lucas, Quinton and Sbusiso from top overseas clubs and they bring a new dimension to the team. The atmosphere is also different as we all bring different cultures from different clubs.

Any difference between Bafana Bafana and the Kaizer Chiefs camps?

Not much of a difference. The only thing is that we are a different bunch from different clubs and players from European clubs are more disciplined when at training. They take each and everything seriously and you can see they strive to keep up their standard. I have learned from that experience that in football you have to take everything seriously.

What has been your highlight of the season?

There’s a few. Playing in the Super Cup final against Al Ahly was really something. It was an international game and we played against the best side in Africa. Even if we lost but I felt I had a great game.

Being selected to the World Cp squad was another high point in my career and it was a dream come true for me.

Your low points?

Not qualifying for the Top Eight especially as we were hoping to win the league but ended ninth on the log. That was the saddest thing especially after we started so well winning all the cups domestically plus the African Club of the Year award. So it was really unexpected and a lot of us were shocked but it’s all in the game.

Best goal of the season?

Well I have scored quite a few goals that have been rated high. But for me it has to be the one against Manning Rangers in the Coca-Cola Cup in Durban more so in that they were leading us 1-0 and we were on the verge of being eliminated from the cup. I struck it well with much power and I really felt it was a great strike.

Your worst game of the season?

There’s also a few but the one I remember clearly was our league match against Jomo Cosmos in the second round in Mmabatho. I had played for the national team a day before and after the Cosmos game I just felt I was not at my best.

The other game against SuperSport United where I scored two goals but was later sent off. I do not like to complain about referees but in that game I felt the players were not protected from harsh tackles.

Who do you rate as the most impressive player at Chiefs?

You have to give it to Arthur. He game his best throughout the season and maybe deserved to be in the national team. I won’t say it was a mistake to leave him out, as Mjomana said he couldn’t take all players to the World Cup.

And the most difficult opponent you have played against in the PSL?

Johannes Mine is very difficult to play against. Not that I am afraid of him but the man is a hard worker and he doesn’t give up easily no mater what you do. He always stays calm and focused and he is not a dirty player, he will not intentionally go for the man.

What ever trick you might try to pull he will always be there and a person like that can sometimes take you off track.

What has it been like playing in Africa?

As players I think we all got something out of that. We are used to playing in front of enthusiastic and passionate crowds here at home but there were instances where we played under hostile conditions and very unfriendly atmosphere if you recall Angola.

Your feelings about the expulsion from the Mandela Cup?

Very disappointed but I cannot say much because I really don’t know what happened. We were all looking forward to our title defence as you could see how we played in our opening match against Transfoot.

How do you feel about missing out on the league championship?

I don’t even want to think about that because it’s really painful. Throughout the years we have been watching Chiefs as youngsters and they were dominating the league. And that is why some of us also wanted to be part of that success. Now we are here and things are not happening league wise.

But things will work out fine. We are all geared up to take the league next season. It’s not going to be easy but we are all very positive that we can achieve that.

It must be disappointing to look at the PSL top scorers and none of the Chiefs players appear in the Top 10…

If you look at our games we were mostly on top of our opponents and created a lot of chances but we simply did not have the luck to put the ball in the net. I cannot say our strikers are useless, they have the potential it was only that we did not have luck.

Maybe we need one or two top strikers and things might start to happen.

Which department do you feel has been the weak link and needs improving in the Chiefs line-up?

It’s not fair to single out one department and say they are responsible for some of our failures. We played as a team and if we failed we failed as a team.

Your view on Santos winning the league…

They really worked hard and were very consistent throughout the season. I take my hat off to Santos and say congratulations they deserved to win.

What are your goals for next season?

As we head for Korea I plan to make good use of whatever chance I get to play. Honestly I need to grow and develop and I would very happy to get a contract overseas. I played with Bhele and he is now in Italy, I also want to see progress in my career.

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