New challenge excites Cabral

by Stuart Vose

Midfielder looking to make his mark.

New signing Cabral is looking forward to the next stage of his career after arriving in the Barclays Premier League for the first time.

The midfielder, who hails from Cape Verde but holds a Swiss passport, has signed a three-year deal at the Stadium of Light after leaving FC Basle.

Cabral spent six successful years with Basle, winning trophies galore including five league titles and three Swiss Cups.

Now the 24-year-old is set to ply his trade in the Barclays Premier League – and he can't wait.

“This is a new challenge for me and I am looking forward to it,” said the midfielder, who trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday.

“Playing in Basel, we won everything in Switzerland and I played in the Champions League and Europa League.

“Now I have a new challenge in England and for me it is the best league.”

During his time with Basel, Cabral collected plenty of European experience, playing a key role in a 2-1 win over Manchester United – the club he supported as a boy – in 2011-12.

He was also a part of the side which reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, losing to eventual winners Chelsea over two legs.

But now he's relishing his next challenge and he is looking forward to playing in front of the red and white army, with the club boasting the top flight's seventh-highest average attendance last season.

“The Champions League was very good and a great experience for the young players,” he explained.

“Last year we played in the Europa League and for a Swiss club to reach the semi-finals was very good also.

“Now I am playing for Sunderland in England; I am happy.

“In Basel there are passionate fans – around 20,000 or so per game – but this different.

“Every game we play, the fans are always there and that is important for the team. In the game, I battle for the fans.”

And he's also looking forward to working with head coach Paolo Di Canio and has already been impressed in the limited time he's spent with the Italian so far.

“The coach is outstanding. First he was a big player, now a great coach. He gives everything for the team.

“I like the coach. He is passionate and always wanting the team to do better.”