A winning streak for Captain Lucky

2012-05-05 19:23

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi is feeling lucky again.

He didn’t give up when a career-threatening knee injury sidelined him for nine months and came back strong, determined to prove his worth in the Pirates team.

With another treble on the cards this season, Lekgwathi is still going strong, steering the Sea Robbers’ ship successfully.

He has already lifted the MTN 8 and Telkom Knockout trophies this season and is just two games away from retaining the Absa Premiership title.

“I have developed muscles from lifting the trophies and that’s good for my health!” he chuckles.

The injury left Lekgwathi with a deep appreciation for football that he’s maintained throughout his professional career.

As one of the senior players in the team, he always encourages injured players not to give up and to fight for their lives.

“It’s not easy when you sustain a career threatening injury. You ask God many questions. Since I walked the difficult path of recovery, it’s easy to relate. I’m always there to give them hope and tactics to survive,” said the 36-year-old.

Lekgwathi is the only surviving member of the Pirates team that won the league championship under Roy Barreto in 2003.

“It’s not easy to be the oldest member in the team. You have to set an example. I have to play the big brother role in the team,” he said.

Just a season ago, the former Ria Stars defender was honoured by Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Irvin Khoza for his dedication and hard work with the Chairman’s Award.

“I never relaxed after the chairperson gave me his award. It made me realise how far I have gone with Pirates and how I am appreciated.”

Like his fellow defenders Happy Jele, Rooi Mahatsa and Lucas Thwala (on loan to Platinum Stars), Lekgwathi has scored for the team when it matters most.

“Our strategy is to go on an all-out attack during injury time with all defenders overlapping. This works for the team. Jele scored crucial goals for us last season. Rooi and Siyabonga Sangweni have also come to the party this season. We work as a team; we don’t leave the entire scoring duty to our strikers. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure the team wins.”

After scoring the equaliser against Ajax Cape Town last week, Lekgwathi was in the picture again this week when his efforts helped Pirates walk away with maximum points against SuperSport United on Tuesday to reach the top of the table.

“Our fans appreciated the goals. It is my duty to lift the team when it’s down. It’s never over until the referee’s final whistle. I don’t look at the referees; I just focus on playing my game.

“This group of players is quite exceptional in terms of desire to achieve, character and willingness to learn. I’m very lucky to be in a team that encourages hard work, craves success and combines luck and dedication,” Lekgwathi said.

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