SPEEDY winger, Justice Figuaredo was forced to pull out of Eswatini squad that will be battling it out for six points in back to back Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Congo because of an injury.
Figuaredo is yet to feature for TS Galaxy in the current season because of an ankle injury that has been bothering him since the start of the DSTV Premiership.
Figuaredo joined TS Galaxy from Mbombela United at the start of the season.
Eswatini will entertain Congo away from home tomorrow and then face the same opponent in their own territory on Monday.
After two games, Eswatini are yet to register a point having suffered two defeats at the expense of the log leaders, Senegal and second placed, Guinea-Bissau.
TS Galaxy (TSG) sat down with Justice Figuaredo (JF) to talk about his injury that has hampered his progress.
TS Galaxy (TSG): How disappointed are you that you won’t be able to represent your country because of an injury?
Justice Figuaredo (JF): I couldn’t go to the national team because I’m still nursing an ankle injury. I’m still recovering from that injury. Yes, I did receive a call up but I explained my situation to the national team coach and he understood. He also stated that he doesn’t want me to aggravate it. As a result, we took a decision that I’m going to pull out of the camp. We all came in to an amicable agreement that he will call me in the next camp when I’ve fully recovered.
TSG: What is your message to your teammates in the national team?
JF: Every game that you play, it is like a cup final when you wear the national team colours. Wearing those colours comes with huge expectations. I wish them all the best even though, I’m not with them but my spirit is with them.
TSG: Do you fancy them in these two matches against Congo?
JF: I don’t want to yes or no (they will win or not). Covid-19 has halted a lot of things in Swaziland. The league hasn’t even started in Swaziland. I think, they had about a month of preparation. For me, that is not enough to play against those guys. They have been active for quite sometime and it is very, very hot in Congo. I don’t know but I hope for the best while preparing for the worse.
TSG: Do you believe that one day, you will defy the odds and qualify for the Afcon?
JF: It is a dream. In life, it is important to dream big to avoid being average. TS Galaxy proved last year in the Nedbank Cup final against Kaizer Chiefs that anything is possible. So, everything is possible. You may never know, when God says yes, nobody can’t say no. I’m ready for anything and I’ll always give my best. I want to be the best version of myself.
TSG: How are you dealing with this period of nursing an injury?
JF: I’m disappointed that I haven’t been able to feature for TS Galaxy because of an injury. On other hand, I feel maybe it is for a reason because I had to get time to understand the style of play that TS Galaxy is using as a new player. I’m afraid man, these guys are so exciting to watch. Now, I know what to expect when I come in. I’m also aware of the areas that I need to work on. I don’t want to add numbers at the club. When I come on, I also want to add value.
TSG: What are your goals and objectives?
JF: I want to be a better version of myself. I want to reach my full potential. I want to give my all everytime I go in to the field of play. I train now and then to try and catch up with the other guys in terms of my level of fitness. I just want to get back in to the field. I’ll take it from there. With time, I’ll get back on my feet again and do what I was born to do.
TSG: How happy are you that after three games, we are still unbeaten?
JF: TS Galaxy is so exciting to watch. Even those that are not playing for different reasons, we are all excited to watch the club. TS Galaxy makes South African football exciting. They are very good to watch. They are so amazing. I’m just running out of words to explain the brand of football the club is playing.
TSG: How did you pick yourself up after suffering the disappointment of getting relegated with Mbombela United in GladAfrica Championship last season?
JF: Off course, I was disappointed when I suffered relegation with Mbombela United because I didn’t know what the future was for me but I was excited when TS Galaxy approached me. We fought in the field of play to avoid relegation but ended up getting relegated on technicalities. We didn’t have anything to do with that because we did our job in the field of play but that is in the past now. My focus is here at TS Galaxy. It was hard for everyone but that is life for you. It has ups and downs. It is what it is. We can’t change what happened.
TSG: How is it like playing under coach, Dan Malesela?
JF: It is amazing working under coach, Dan Malesela. He wants you to get better all the time. You learn everyday. He always pushes us to go back home and do self introspection about ourselves. We are forever improving as a club. By the time we play Swallows, we will be ready.
TSG: How is this break going to affect us?
JF: The break won’t affect us. Looking at the guys, they are very hungry. They are hungry to win. When we started we were the underdogs but everyone is now aware of us because of the hunger that the guys have shown in our first three games. Every game that we play, it is going to be like a cup final to us.