Thapelo Morena unfazed by the multi positions he occupies at Mamelodi Sundowns
Thapelo Morena is not fazed by the multi positions he occupies at Mamelodi Sundowns where he’s been deployed from right-back to attacking winger and striker.
The 26-year-old Morena‚ who recently extended his stay at Sundowns for a further five years‚ has managed to change to all these positions without losing any of his sharpness. This is enhanced by his lightning speed and an ability to find his teammates with accurate passes and crosses.
Morena also opened up how his speeding resulted in him getting the gap between his teeth while playing with mates at the Jusuf Dadoo Primary School in Randfontein.
Morena was spotted by Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki while playing for an SAB league team and he recommended him to Bloemfontein Celtic‚ a club the national team coach was working at around 2011. He joined the senior team at Celtic in 2013 before joining Sundowns in August 2016.
“Even though I play at right-back‚ when I look at my game I just don’t look for the right back possibilities. I always look for the gaps in the attacking areas and I think that gave my coaches confidence to put me in those attacking positions‚” Morena explained his versatility.
“I also look at what right wingers do‚ what the strikers do and what I can do if I’m played there. It’s more about making sure that the team benefits from whatever position I’m placed at in a particular match.
“It also depends on the tactics of the day and the opposition because I actually sit down and watch videos with the coaches before we decide what my role will be in a particular.
“What I’m happy about is the fact that I’ve been able to adapt and keep my game at a good level in whatever position I’ve been asked to play. I also look around me and not at one position.”
Morena has recovered from a nasty ankle injury he suffered in a Nedbank Cup clash against SuperSport United where he provided a vital assist for Sibusiso Vilakazi to score the vital winner. He hopes he’ll play a few matches before the season ends but if he doesn’t‚ the player is happy to wait until the start of next season.
Speaking to the TimesLIVE while holed up in a camp at the Marang Hotel in Rustenburg‚ Morena revealed that the gap between his teeth came about during his teen years at school where he also excelled in athletics.
“The speed is something that I always had‚ even at school I used to play soccer and do athletics‚” said Morena.
“It’s something that I grew up with and you know from kasi (township) you’ll find out that at a certain season you play soccer and at another it’s athletics.
“I used to do 100m‚ 180m‚ 200m in athletics and I wasn’t bad because I used to be number one or two. But for me my take off was a bit slow but when I’m already in motion that’s when my speed comes in.”
Morena explained it was partly also that speed that gave him his gap between his teeth and he chuckles when he remembers how it all happened.
“We were just fooling around at school (Dr Jusuf Dadoo Primary) and I fell with my mouth and both my front teeth broke. We were fooling around by the corridors and I just slipped. As time went on I took out the other one because it was giving me problems‚” said Morena.
Source: ARENA Holdings.