Michael Morton - Fact File

Michael Morton Impressed With Igesund’s Instant Impact

Since Gordon Igesund took over at SuperSport United last year, hard-man Michael Morton has praised him for making an instant impact and improving the team. In his interview he also talks about the players he rates highly in the PSL.

Personal Information
Full names: Michael Morton
Date of Birth: 7 March 1989
Place of Birth: Johannesburg
Nickname: Vacuum Cleaner/One-Love
Jersey no: 18
Position: Holding Midfielder
Club: SuperSport United
Previous Clubs: Randburg (amateur), Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates

Honours: 2008/09 Telkom knockout with Pirates, Nedbank cup with Wits.

Hi Michael, how have things been going at SuperSport United?
Since Gordon Igesund took over, we’ve won the Telkom Knockout Cup, so things are going really well for us. In the beginning we were not gelling, we would do well in one match and lose the next but now we are more consistent and looking more dangerous.

You started your career with the Pirates youth setup, but left the club before you were able to make an impact on the first team. While you went on to make a success of your career, this is not always the case with all promising youngsters. What would your advice be to young players trying to make the breakthrough?
In my case I had the chance to sign for the Pirates first team, but chose instead to move to [Bidvest] Wits. I couldn’t see myself sitting in the grandstand, patience is not one of my attributes, and I knew I needed to be playing.

What was your thinking behind making the move up to Pretoria and signing for SuperSport?
The main aim of course was to join a side which I felt could challenge for honours. SuperSport have a good heritage, and have been very successful in terms of winning trophies over the last five to 10 years. They have the pedigree, and I would love to be able to contribute to future successes at the club. It’s also great to be back home close to my family and friends.

What can you tell us about Igesund?
He is a very good coach. The day he walked into the job, the respect from the players was immediate. Due to what he has achieved he gets respected, and when he tells you what to do it’s definitely for the good of the team. He also looks after his players.

How is United different to other clubs you have played for?
The professionalism is definitely on another level. The backroom staff and management are professional and always looking after player’s interest. Footballers need to worry about football and the fact that we have other things like nutrition taken care of makes such a difference.

What do you aim to achieve this second round of the season?
When I first arrived I wanted to play regular football and so far that has worked out well. But obviously I can’t rest on my laurels, I need to work hard and maintain focus to keep my place in the team. I am happy to have already reached a cup final in my first season.

From experience, who are the hardest tacklers and your most difficult opponent in the PSL?
The two I rate highly as proper `hardmen` are Hlompho Kekana and Letladi Madubanya. I like going up against them because it’s always a hard but fair battle. But the guy I relish playing against is Kekana from Mamelodi Sundowns. He is a hard man and I find it challenging and rewarding playing against him. I rate him highly, he is extremely powerful, strong on the ball and has a big engine. He packs a powerful shot and is one of the best midfielders in the PSL.

Okay, who would win a tackling competition between you and Willard Katsande?
He plays just in front of his back four and I do the same so we don’t really come close enough to each other to see but of course I would back myself.

What is your preferred position?
I’m glad you asked that question, I’m a central midfielder and I only played as a right-back at Pirates under Coach Ruud Krol. When Krol arrived I was a youngster and he asked me to play right-back because he didn’t know which position I played. And I was not a right back. I went to the match, played and did my best, and from then people thought I was a defender. But I have been a midfielder all my life.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done in your life?
That is a tough one… I once got into an enclosure with a nine-month old tiger at the Rhino and Lion Nature reserve in Johannesburg.

What do you intend to do when you retire?
I would like to remain in football in some form, be it as a coach or getting involved in management. If not, I studied for a Bcom at Unisa. It is something to fall back on when my career is finished.

Lastly, your favourite hang-out after matches?
I like going out for a dinner to different restaurants around Pretoria with my wife Lizelle. As footballers we are always travelling so when I get time off, I go out with my wife and normally order a burger. That’s my favourite meal.

Michael, thank you very much for your time, enjoy the rest of the remaining season.
Thanks man