Sheppard eyes new pastures

AFTER enduring a frustrating season at Platinum Stars last term where he was told that he was not good enough, Dillon Sheppard is not embittered by his experience.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town star midfielder was not surprisingly placed on transfer by Stars last week but feels liberated by developments in Rustenburg.

Instead of whining, the 32-year-old believes this could breathe new life into his career.

"I'm a positive person and not a person who moans when things don't go my way," said the amiable Sheppard last night.

"The decision the management of Platinum Stars took did not come as a surprise to me because I saw it coming. I was prepared for whatever decision the club would take.

"Though I did not have a one-on-one talk with the coach (Owen da Gama), the CEO (Jason Raine) was the one who conveyed the coach's messages to me. He told me that the coach said he was not playing me and that the situation will not change. The coach did not feel that I was good enough for the club. It was clear that I don't fit into his style when he used a right-footed player on the left ahead of me - a natural left-footed player."

Sheppard, who has 18 caps with Bafana Bafana, made six starts last season and was substituted in two of these encounters. He said that showed that Da Gama saw him as surplus to requirements at the club.

"So do you think I was surprised when they put me on transfer? But I'm not angry, not at all. To me there is nothing wrong when a coach puts a player on transfer. Owen has his plans, which unfortunately I'm not part of."

Sheppard, who recovered remarkably well from a career-threatening leg fracture in 2007, will return to Stars next season if he doesn't get a new home in the off-season. He still has three seasons left on his contract at Stars - one as a player and the other two as part of the coaching staff of the club.

Asked if he was not demoralised by the fact that the developments had thwarted his aspirations of becoming a coach, he said the idea of becoming a coach has not crossed his mind. "My contract with Stars would have allowed me to be part of the club's technical staff for two years but that does not mean that I would stop playing. I still believe that I still have many years left in me as a player and I'm hopeful I will get a club that will give enough time to play next season."

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