YASER Kasim spoke of his pride for housemate and close friend Raphael Rossi Branco after Swindon Town’s Brazilian defender produced a superb performance on his full league debut against Peterborough United.
Branco pulled off three excellent late blocks to kill Peterborough attacks in their tracks and ensure Town took three points from a pulsating clash at the County Ground on Saturday, drawing mass plaudits from his manager, teammates and fans after the game.
Kasim, who lives with Branco and spent time with him at Brighton & Hove Albion, was delighted to see the centre-back make the most of his opportunity in the Robins’ first team.
“I’m very proud of Raffa,” he said. “We live together and he’s been through quite a lot, I think he’s seen some light ahead of him and I’m proud of him. I saw potential at Brighton and it didn’t work out for him there, he went to Whitehawk to sort his papers out and he’s had so many setbacks and failures and it’s so good to see him doing so well.
“It just shows what sort of a person he is. The fans only see his life on the pitch but outside it he’s worked so hard to get into the team.
“There’s obviously that element of luck but we both worked hard. He’s probably getting me up for training every day, he gets up quite early and we just bounce off each other. We know what we’ve been through, we bounce off each other a lot and it helps us get through.
“For him to come up and do what he’s done after what I’ve done is a good achievement, I just hope he keeps it going and keeps fighting, which I’m sure he will.”
Kasim has set himself a target of between 10 and 15 goals this season after moving into a more attacking position in midfield and he edged closer to that total with what turned out to be the winning strike on Saturday.
Afterwards he suggested that with Nile Ranger back in the Swindon side he was even more confident of achieving his goal.
“No one believed me in this room that I could do that and now I’ve scored two at home,” he told the local press.
“It’s nice to have Nile in the team because I bounce off him quite easily and that gives me more time to run onto it. He keeps the ball well so I can run forward and he could set it off for me. That’s what Nile can give you so it’s important that he’s in the team. I think I could get more goals if he keeps his screws on.”