Former Bafana Bafana defender Nasief Morris has reminisced about his time playing in the UEFA Champions League and La Liga, where he came up against some of the best players in the world.
The 39-year-old spent nearly a decade in Europe, first playing in Greece for Aris and Panathinaikos, before playing in Spain for Recreativo and Racing Santander.
Morris, who has since moved into coaching and was head coach at Steenberg United from October to January, was speaking to Rob Delport in Edition 11 of iDiski Times, where he told us about his entire career, and so much more.
“Ja, no, I mean, it was crazy, you know, but obviously before that, I also had that opportunity playing against those type of players because of the Champions League in Panathinaikos,” Morris told iDiski Times.
“I think everything, every stage that I went through, just kind of prepared me for the next step, because you’re going from Champions League playing against those type of players, and now it becomes a regular thing because it’s week in and week out playing in La Liga, playing against those type of players on a weekly basis.”
“So, I mean, it was incredible and not a lot of people actually understood at that time what situation I was in. And people took it for granted.”
“Because I mean, it was a big stage at that time but now everybody’s realised and sees the quality that they have in Spain. There was players at that time, which was the best at that time, in that era, which was like, players like Ronaldinho, Kaka, Raul, was close to the end of his career but was still scoring a lot of goals. Messi, that just became the biggest player at that time. Those type of players coming up against them, but you know, something that I put my mind, we are just it’s 11 against 11. It’s not a superstar that I’m playing against. I’m just here to do my job. And that’s it.”
“There’s actually a clip that I have from one of the Champions League games against Barcelona, I think it was a home leg that we played with Panathinaikos. And we ended up drawing with them, 0-0 at home. I think we were the only team in the group stages that didn’t concede a goal against them in one of the games.”
“And there was an action where I came to press him (Ronaldinho), and he kicked the ball over me. But we both turned at the same time. And as the ball dropped, I kicked it back, this exact same thing that he did, I did it back to him, and made a pass from there.”
“I have a video and that is one of the biggest moments I think that I can remember, and luckily like I have it on video, you know, to watch it sometimes to remind myself of the quality that I actually played against.”
The full interview is available to read in Edition 11 of iDiski Times.