Ndumiso Mabena has come back to Orlando Pirates a more mature player than he was when he left some nine years ago.
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While he has played just a few minutes since rejoining the Buccaneers in October, Mabena has made a sizable contribution to the team.
The 35-year-old is playing a mentor role to the younger players in the team because he understands the culture and expectations at Pirates.
Mabena was part of the media conference on Monday that was held at Vodacom World in Midrand as part of the build up to the Soweto derby.
Pirates will be visitors to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon in this hugely anticipated match.
This will be Mabena’s first derby since his return. Asked how it felt to watch the derby from the outside, he gave a political answer.
“It didn’t affect me that much. I was working where I was, so I had to focus on that job that was at hand then.
“I am happy to be back home… Where I started my professional career,” added the former Platinum Stars man.
“I was welcomed warmly and I have settled well. When I got back we were playing the MTN8 final and I had to share my experience of finals.
“I think that helped a lot. Even when we started losing games after winning the trophy, we sat as players and we discussed issues.
No new record for Chiefs
“We asked ourselves what it was that we were doing wrong that we were doing right before the final.
“After that we started getting positive results again. Together with those who have been here longer, we gave the younger ones the knowledge of the team in terms of the expectations.”
On the derby, Mabena says Pirates cannot afford to lose this time around as Chiefs stand to set a new record if that happens.
“We know Chiefs have won four in a row against us and they are gunning for a record fifth and we don’t want that to happen.
“So, there is a lot at stake for us. And it is going to be a difficult game but we have pride too to play for,” said Mabena.