Jooste happy with his assimilation into Pirates
Top8 trophy remains highlight of productive first season
Orlando Pirates utility right-back Wayde Jooste has opened up about his seamless transition from an ordinary winger into a solid full-back at the Buccaneers.
When Jooste joined Pirates from Highlands Park at the start of the 2020/21 season, many doubted he’d fit in, given that the Sea Robbers boast a number of talented wingers.
Just a few games into his Pirates career the lad from Gqeberha was already the first-choice right-back, a position he’d never been accustomed to at his previous clubs. Jooste racked up 14 league starts in 18 appearances. At times, injuries sidelined him.
“I don’t think it was too much of a transition because I was playing as a winger and as a winger you need to go up and down. As a right-back now I know I need to just perfect my defending because I am used to being offensive," Jooste told Sowetan.
“I think this season I have grown as a player, so it wasn’t difficult for me to play as a right-back. When I joined Pirates I told myself I will work harder than I’d been doing to make sure I play and that worked for me.”
Crossing the ball is one of the traits many local full-backs lack, but Jooste is a special case. Jooste’s inch-perfect deliveries into the box earned him four assists across all tournaments in the 2020/21 season.
“Crossing the ball is something I’ve always worked on. I try to put extra work [in] whenever I am doing individual sessions. I put a lot of my time in trying to deliver great crosses because I know that’s going to separate me from the next player,” the Pirates man explained.
Jooste was also instrumental in Pirates winning the MTN8, their maiden cup in six years, last December. The former Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows utility player treasures winning the Wafa Wafa trophy as it was his first cup as a pro.
“For me personally, it was very nice to win the cup because it was my first cup in my football career and for the club it was a special moment because they’d never won anything in a while,” Jooste noted.