Andrea Fileccia took a break from living his greatest life back home in Mons, Belgium, to chat with Renny Man about the season that just passed, South African footy, goal scoring and more. The 2017/2018 season saw him rise to prominence (especially in the 2nd half of the season) in a historic season for Maritzburg United, which saw the Team of Choice finish in the top 4 of the ABSA Premiership and narrowly miss out on the Nedbank Cup trophy by a solitary goal. The Belgian striker, whose parents are Italian (from Sicily and Napoli), netted 9 goals this season. They gave him a chance, and mans grasped it with two hands.
RM: How different is the SA league compared to the European ones you played in?
AF: The differences are that players run up and down the pitch a lot during the game, whilst in Europe, players will have a look during the game and calm down if there is a need for the team to do so. Players (in Europe) stay after training is finished for a long time to enhance details that improve the team in the games, e.g. finishing in front of goal, long passes over distance.
RM: How did United manage this historic season?
AF: I believe Maritzburg is a good team. We did very well especially in the second half of the season achieving what we wanted to: finishing in the top 6 and playing a cup final. Everything comes with hard work, focus, determination and passion. If you come to training only to train, you won’t go anywhere. And the (Maritzburg) players had a good mentality, that’s why we were successful.
RM: Impact of Fadlu Davids to the players?
AF: The coach had a good impact on the team. He is well prepared and his passion for the game is obvious. The way we train is like in Europe, and that’s why I like waking up every morning to go and train. I see a lot of Ernst Middendorp in him.
RM: The ABSA Prem’s top goal scorers have 11 goals each. Why do you think we struggle to score goals in SA?
AF: I think we have a problem with the final pass in SA. So many players are wonderful but they struggle with the final decision. That’s maybe why don’t have enough goals at the end of the season
RM: Best defender/s that you have encountered in the league?
AF: Danso Weidlich, Siyanda Xulu, Fransman; and Rushen de Reuck will become a good player if he stays humble and he improves himself during the next season.
RM: With regards to transfer rumours, are you staying in Maritzburg for the upcoming 2018/19 season? How do you react to these rumours?
AF: I have a contract with Maritzburg United for the 2018/2019 season and I’m currently talking about a new deal with them.
I’m currently at home and doing many things so I’m not even reading if there are any rumours or not.
RM: Second half of your season was immense (timely goals and match winning ones). What can you credit the late season form to?
AF: The fact I was feeling well during the second half of the season is only because I was playing. When you don’t play and you don’t know why; you lose confidence in yourself and start wondering about so many things. I know what I am capable of, and I was waiting for my chance and show everybody that I can score goals and help my team.
RM: You have great leagues in Europe and your girlfriend is there… why did you come to SA to play?
AF: I came into South Africa with Tom Saintfiet when I was with Free State Stars. I came to play football under a good coach trying to make a name for myself in SA. I never thought that I would come to SA and it’s going to be my 5th season in this beautiful country.
RM: And finally…what is it about South Africa that you like so much?
AF: SA is beautiful from Cape Town to Johannesburg. It is so different for people that are used to being in Europe. The lifestyle is different. I enjoy my time in SA but there is nothing better than the European lifestyle and staying amongst family for me.