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From Pirates to Spurs

Posted on 26 October 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

David Pleat has revealed the sequence of events that led to OJ Mabizela becoming a Spurs player following the South African's stunning first team entrance against Leicester on Sunday.

After spending the first phase of the season learning the ropes of English football in our reserve side, David considered OJ to be ready for inclusion in the 16 for the trip to the Walkers Stadium and his faith was repaid with interest when the 22-year-old made an almost instant impact on the game with a stunning equaliser against the Foxes.

Another substitute - Stephane Dalmat - made nearly as spectacular a contribution with his mazy last minute run that resulted in him stroking his effort against the post, leading to Fredi Kanoute's winner. David feels the duo have announced themselves in style.

"I am absolutely delighted with the victory because it means that two players, for sure, have kind of won the right to be considered very much part of the group of players available for ongoing selection," he refected back in his office at Spurs Lodge this week.

OJ, of course, returned with the squad from the pre-season trip to his homeland and, after a short period of assessment, became a Spurs player. David reports that he was made aware of OJ's capabilities before the squad headed to the Southern Hemisphere.

"I think everyone was delighted for OJ," he added of the debut goal. "I would like to give credit to people like Richard Gough, Gary Mabbutt, a certain Mr Roban of the South African Football Association and various people who tipped me off before we went to South Africa, telling me to look at this 22-year-old captain of his country. Lucas Radebe also helped us.

"No-one can achieve anything without the help of others and we decided we were going to look at him very closely. He played well against us for Orlando Pirates in our first game and we had a meeting.

"We said that we were sure, that for the price we could get him for, we would be interested in taking him. We also decided to bring him to England for a few days to good look at him before we agreed to pay Orlando the fee.

"That is exactly what we did. We were true to our word, we bought him over, we all thought he had something we hadn't got - a little bit of pace and athleticism, bearing in mind that we still hadn't got this defensive midfield player and that he wasn't a natural one.

"We saw things in him and decided as a board, with Glenn's full support and recommendation, that we would go ahead. We do this with all young players - it is always a group decision. We buy young players for development and we buy them for the future - we now have a nice group of young players.

"That is how OJ came to be with us," concluded David, before admitting that he got his Pirates and Chiefs mixed up in his post-match press conference at Leicester. "I said he came from Kaizer Chiefs after the Leicester game - showing that even I got carried away with his goal!"