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Confidence helped me settle quickly at Pirates – Baloni

Midfielder reflects on his debut match against Downs

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Sephelo Baloni of Orlando Pirates
Sephelo Baloni of Orlando Pirates
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates midfielder Siphelo Baloni has attributed his rather seamless adaptation to top-flight football to self-confidence.

Baloni joined Pirates from the now defunct second-tier side All Stars before the start of the season. The 24-year-old central midfielder hasn’t struggled to break into the playing squad in what’s his first season in the top-flight. Baloni has chalked up settling in quickly in the elite league to his assertive persona, admitting he never saw his move to Pirates coming.

“I was surprised by the move to Pirates but I told myself that it was my time to shine. I said to myself, ‘yes it’s a big team but what comes first is to believe in myself’. In football, if you tell yourself that you are capable of doing this and that, nothing is impossible and you can do well anywhere,” Baloni said during Pirates’ activations at Maponya Mall in Soweto last week.

“I told myself that I am going to Pirates to have an impact. You must always tell yourself that you are good and by doing that, you’ll see things happening for you. Self-confidence is very important.”

Baloni, also reflected on his Pirates debut in September that was against Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium, where he conceded a penalty that ensured the Brazilians won 1-0 in the end.

“I was nervous a bit but I told myself that it wasn’t the first time I played against Sundowns, I played against them in a friendly when I was still at All Stars. I knew it was going to be different because it wasn’t a friendly anymore. I tried to make sure that I don’t put pressure on myself, doing what I know. I said to myself ‘they must feel my presence because I am also good’. The nerves calmed down after I got the ball for the first time,” Baloni explained.

Pirates may already be nine points behind leaders Sundowns, who have played two games fewer than them, but Baloyi refuses to throw in the towel in the title race. “It’s not yet over. We will keep on fighting for the title. One day we’ll get on top.”

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