Back to the future for ambitious Velaphi

It may be his second spell at his hometown club, but for Tando Velaphi, the focus is well and truly upon the future rather than the past.

The agile shot-stopper, who made 74 Hyundai A-League appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011, has returned with a wealth of experience gained on and off the field both here in Australia and during a two-year stint in Japan with Shonan Bellmare.

And he feels that he is ready to make a key contribution to what he is convinced will be a successful 2018-19 campaign for Glory.

"I had some really memorable years here," he said, "but that’s in the past and now we want to move forward and really make an impact on the league. That’s something I’m confident we can do and something I want to be a part of.

"The fans have always been fantastic here in Perth, probably the best in the league. The home crowds are amazing and it was a fantastic experience to play in front of them when I was just starting out in the game.

Tando Velaphi saving for Glory

 

"I’m really looking forward to coming back to nib Stadium. I need to put in the performances on the park to get the respect of the fans and put my best foot forward."

As someone who has been a part of the A-League for almost its entire 13-year history, Velaphi is well qualified to comment upon its evolution and feels that the quality within the competition has never been higher.

"Even in Japan a lot of the players were watching the A-League and saying that it was really good and how physical and sharp the players are," he revealed. "That’s a testament to how the league’s progressing. Everyone’s fitter and sharper and technically sound and the league’s becoming highly reputable.

"It’s something that all Australian players should be excited to be involved with and I’m no different."

And the 31-year-old is similarly bullish when it comes to Glory's prospects under the guidance of new Head Coach, Tony Popovic.

"It’s an exciting time to be at the club with all the changes that have been taking place," he said. "I’m looking forward to having a lot of success on the park as part of the squad that’s been put together.

"We want to win the league. With the team we’re putting together and the boss coming on board, we have high expectations. We want to deliver on the field and personally, I’m going to push as hard as I can for the number one position.

"There’s going to be a lot of competition for spots and that can only benefit the team as it will mean everyone’s being pushed to their limits. That’s what it’s about at this level.

"Hopefully everyone from front to back can work together in unison and push towards something really special for the club."

Tando Velaphi dive for Victory

 

Velaphi's second spell with the club is set to start with high-profile games against Chelsea on July 23rd and his former club Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup on August 7th and he cannot wait to get back into the action.

"Chelsea is going to be really exciting for us as players and for football in WA in general," he said.

"To come up against top quality players such as those in the Chelsea squad is great, but once you cross the white line, it’s just 11 against 11 and you’re there to win the game. It’ll be a fantastic experience at the new stadium.

"With Victory, it’s an important game. We want to go as far as we can in that competition and we’ll need to make sure we come out firing to do that."

Tickets for the Chelsea game can be booked HERE and ticket details for the Victory game will be available soon.

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