Lucky break for Lekgwathi

2013-10-13 14:00

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Defender will steer Pirates in crucial CAF Champions League second leg against Esperance

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi is set to man the ship in Tunis against Esperance in the second leg of the CAF Champions League on Saturday evening.

The veteran defender will be recalled to the injury-hit squad, despite his recent comments – via his Daily Sun weekly column – that there were “sinister forces” behind his exclusion from team selection in the past two weeks.

Lekgwathi’s call-up was prompted by injury setbacks to fellow defenders Siyabonga Sangweni and Patrick Phungwayo, who are both nursing Achilles tendon injuries.

Also likely to be out of Saturday’s do-or-die game in Tunis is midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo, who suffered an ankle injury, again.

It is still not clear if Lekgwathi was suspended or given a cooling-off period after his outburst claiming that third forces were behind his exclusion from the team that lost to Platinum Stars in the MTN8 final.

He has missed the past four games.

Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Esperance at Orlando Stadium last week.

Coach Roger de Sa is optimistic they will do well and advance to the final.

“Except for their home supporters, the playing field will be level. We are bracing ourselves for a great encounter because there is so much at stake,” said De Sa, adding that he was comfortable with the pitch condition in the north African country.

He said he hoped his strikers would show their brilliance on the field after a series of misses let the visiting former continental champions off the hook last weekend.

De Sa said he was happy with how the team responded by scoring three goals against Aces on Tuesday. Lennox Bacela, who was snatched from Bloemfontein Celtic in the off season, has slotted into the team well and scored a brace in that match.

After last week’s goalless draw, Pirates need at least a scoring draw to advance to the final, where they will meet either Cameroon’s Coton Sport or Al Ahly of Egypt.

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