The details on how Stellenbosch FC pulled off the coup to sign former Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg defender Lasse Sobiech have been revealed.
Stellenbosch FC quietly pulled off one of the biggest moves in the transfer window after completing a deal to sign former Germany youth international Lasse Sobiech from 2. Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt last month.
Following a delay in receiving his work permit, The 31-year-old made his long-awaited debut for the club on Saturday and delivered a strong performance as Stellies held rivals Cape Town City to a 1-1 draw at the Cape Town Stadium.
Sobiech's maiden outing was reflective of a player who boasts both pedigree and a wealth of experience to his name, with the centre-back having previously turned out for the likes of Hamburg, FC St. Pauli, Greuther Fürth and FC Köln across Germany's top two divisions.
His arrival in the PSL was thus considered something of a coup for Stellenbosch FC who worked on the deal to secure his signature for more than 18 months following club CEO Rob Benadie's first meeting with the defender back in January 2021.
The transfer could not take place at the time due to Stellies' five allocated foreign quota spots being filled but the club would not be deterred in tying the defender to a long-term deal when he became available again ahead of the new season.
"I met Rob here when I was on holiday in Stellenbosch and we talked a little a bit to see what could come of it in the next years. We had a great conversation," Sobiech tells KICK OFF.
"When I was younger, I always said that in the latter stages of my career I want to experience football outside of Europe and now is the time. I'm 31 years old and when I started my career I was not sure where I would eventually go, but in the last five years or so I figured out that coming to South Africa would be the best for me.
"A lot of players go to the United States or somewhere like that, but I love South Africa. I have some friends here, I spoke with Roland Putsche [formerly] from Cape Town City and he also told me a lot of good things about Stellenbosch FC, so I'm very proud that I've been given the chance to help the team."
Prior to his arrival at the Danie Craven Stadium, Sobiech had also been involved in a number of charitable endeavours in Cape Town and it was this shared sense of community that made the player and club a perfect match.
"You can't pay the guys who are coming from these European leagues what they were getting over there, so we were impressed with why he wanted to come to South Africa and why he wants to play in the PSL," Benadie added.
"He loves Cape Town and he loves Stellenbosch, he's been here a few times and loves the story behind the club and what we are trying to achieve in the community beyond just football... He is a great character, and we think he is going to add a lot both on and off the field as well."
This article is extracted and adapted from the full interview with Lasse Sobiech in the May edition of KICK OFF Magazine. The latest copy can be purchased online or in stores for R27 and includes more great content on his time in the Bundesliga, training under Jürgen Klopp and adapting to life in the PSL.