Portugal-based Thabo Cele not ready to ply his trade in SA yet

Thabo Cele plays for second-tier team CD Cova da Piedade in Portugal. /Gualter Fatia / Getty Images
Thabo Cele plays for second-tier team CD Cova da Piedade in Portugal. /Gualter Fatia / Getty Images

As myriads of SA clubs are believed to be interested in luring him back home after his Portuguese team Cova da Piedade were relegated, talented midfielder Thabo Cele has made it clear his aim is to remain in Europe.

Cele's second-tier outfit Piedade suffered an unprecedented demotion after the annulment of the Portuguese second division's campaign, due to the coronavirus pandemic a fortnight ago.

Piedade were occupying the 17th spot in an 18-team league, with 22 games remaining. Cele had started his side's last seven league outings.

While Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United are rumoured to be keen to sign Cele, the former SA Under-20 international has no plans to ply his trade locally any time soon.

"I still have one year left on my contract here [at Piedade]. The team is appealing the decision to be relegated, we feel it's unjust, so we'll wait and see. But for me, at this stage in my career, I want to continue with my European dream," Cele told Sowetan from Portugal.

"My ambition is to move to one of the top leagues here in Europe. I have been talking to my agent [Herry Martins of Portuguese-based agency Soccer Soul], it's promising that I can stay in Europe for more years."

The lad from KwaMashu in Durban also spoke of how he was shocked by the news that his Portugal-based compatriot and close friend Siphephelo "Toure" Sithole had contracted Covid-19 last week.

"I can't lie... I was shocked to hear the news that one of us was infected. In most of the times people who test positive are people who you don't know ... you usually watch it on TV, in the news, so I was surprised to hear that my friend [Sithole] has it [coronavirus].

"Sithole [who's in the books of top-flight side Belenenses' U-23] is my brother, my friend. I talk to him everyday and he's looking healthy, he's cool. I am positive he'll recover, he's strong."

The duo moved to Portugal in 2016 and 2017, having never played for any PSL side.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.