2015 is an AFCON year – are you confident you will make the squad and what can fans expect from the national team – can you win it?
Oupa Manyisa : It would a great honour to be in the final AFCON team, I feel confident but the final decision belongs to the coach. We have improved a lot this year, I am positive we will perform beyond expectations.
Which teams will provide the biggest challenge and which players do you expect to star at Afcon?
Oupa Manyisa : It is not my nature to worry about the opposition teams and their players, I focus on my strength as a player and do my best all the time.
You have just signed a deal with PUMA – what factors encouraged you to make the move?
Oupa Manyisa : Their persistence and patience to have me has been impressive, as a player you know in your heart when you feel wanted and appreciated. PUMA gave me that feeling from the beginning. There has also been a lot of positive talk by club and national teammates, which made me take notice. More importantly, they have made me realise how big my football profile is in local football and they will be helping me to maximise the potential.
Which boots will you wear and what are your thoughts on their look and feel?
Oupa Manyisa : EvoSPEED. It’s an amazing boot, light yet very comfortable. I was also afforded a rare opportunity to see the ranges coming out next year, eye-opening stuff, definitely game changing.
Orlando Pirates are going through some tough times in 2014. As captain what can you do to lift the team in training and during competitive matches?
Oupa Manyisa : Every captain has a different style, mine is to lead by example. I will give my best at all times and hope that the positive energy will rub off on my teammates. Every player has a responsibility to this football club, we all have to play our roles and not look to what the next man is doing or not doing. I am very positive that the results in 2015 will be much better, I believe in this team.
What do you enjoy about playing for Orlando Pirates?
Oupa Manyisa : They are a massive team, every player’s dream club. I consider myself very fortunate to be a member of this club and never imagined I would be captain. When you do well for Pirates, opportunities are unlimited. I have won titles, played in the CAF Champions League final and received a lot of admiration from supporters all over the country. Half of the things I have achieved would not be possible if I did not play here.
Do you have dreams of playing overseas – if so for which teams in which leagues?
Oupa Manyisa : Yes I do, every player should have that ambition. Spain would be my preferred destination and Atletico Madrid are my favourite. A team built with precision and passion.
What is the attraction, besides money, on making the move overseas and how would it benefit you as a player?
Oupa Manyisa : Locally, there is not a lot you can achieve beyond Orlando Pirates. I have won a lot here and the next logical step would be overseas. When you have moved to an appropriate league overseas you get to play against the best players around and that benefits you in ways never imagined. When you play and hold your own against the top players it naturally lifts you as a player and shows you exactly what aspects you need to improve.
Your advice to teenage boys out there thinking of becoming a professional footballer – choosing an agent, dealing with fame, investing your money etc?
Oupa Manyisa : Choose an agent with a good reputation, who will put your career and interest first. Humility goes a long way, there are many players that came before us and there will be a lot more after us, so grab your chance and use it wisely. Many people change because of the money they receive from playing football. I advise young players to invest wisely, be it in property or whatever suits them. Football is a short and rewarding career, so maximise the opportunities.