Why Maart never gave up after Pirates snub

Midfielder an inspiration to his community

26 July 2021 - 07:33
By sihle ndebele AND Sihle Ndebele
Mogamat Yusuf Maart of South Africa during the 2021 COSAFA Cup match between  South Africa and Lesotho at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Mogamat Yusuf Maart of South Africa during the 2021 COSAFA Cup match between South Africa and Lesotho at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

One of the major reasons rejection by Orlando Pirates didn’t break talented midfielder Yusuf Maart is that playing professional football helps him serve as a beacon of hope for his community of Atlantis in Cape Town.

After excelling in the Diski Challenge in 2016, Maart was promoted to the Pirates senior team the next season. The highly rated attacking midfielder could only make two appearances in the first team, before being shipped out on loan to Cape Umoya in 2018.

“One thing that kept me going after the disappointment of not playing at Pirates is that I went to Cape Umoya, closer to home. I am the only person who made it to where I am today from my town and that always motivates me,” Maart told Sowetan.

“The community sees me as a role model, someone they look up to to say in life, anything is possible. My community is so supportive and I am always playing to make them proud. Even after returning from the Cosafa Cup, young boys came to my home to greet me in jubilation, saying they saw me doing well. They want to be like me.’’

The Buccaneers scouted Maart at the  Under-21 SAB national championship in Polokwane in 2016, where he scooped the player of the tournament gong, playing for his province, Western Cape. The 26-year-old understands why he hardly got a chance at Bucs, feeling it was always going to be hard to be given a chance amid the side’s struggles at the time.

“I did well in the Diski Challenge and everyone was talking, saying I must go to the first team and I got promoted. When I got promoted the team was faced with tough times and it was hard for a youngster to just come up and be a regular,” Maart noted.

Maart played a pivotal role in Sekhukhune United’s promotion to the Premiership last season. His blistering form saw him earn a Bafana Bafana call-up for the recent Cosafa Cup  in Gqeberha, which SA won. The lad from Atlantis is raring to excel in Sekhukhune’s maiden Premiership campaign, plotting to move to Europe at the end of the impending season.

“My target is to make good impression in the top flight with Sekhukhune and from there I want to play in Europe, that’s what I am dreaming of,” Maart said.