'Sinister forces' snub Lekgwathi

Lucky Lekgwathi (Gallo Images)
Lucky Lekgwathi (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Orlando Pirates veteran skipper Lucky Lekgwathi has not been selected for his team's 18-man squad travelling to Tunisia.

Pirates departed OR Tambo International Airport heading to Tunisia via Cairo, where they will lock horns against Esperance in the CAF Champions League semi-final second leg at the Stade Olympique De Radès stadium on Saturday night.

The long-serving captain last featured for the Soweto giants in the last CAF group stage match against Al Ahly of Egypt last month.

Lekgwathi then went on to miss the crucial MTN8 final against Platinum Stars - where the Buccaneers lost on penalties - and he blamed the "sinister forces" within the club for his omission in his "Captain's column" in the Daily Sun newspaper.

The 37-year-old versatile defender revealed that "unnamed elements" in the team management wanted to hinder him from playing the beautiful game.

Pirates head coach, Roger De Sa, said last week that “Phinda Mzala” is still part of his future plans and an injury to defender, Siyabonga Sangweni, will pave a way back for him heading to this encounter.

Sangweni suffered from an Achilles tendon injury in the Telkom Knockout last 16 clash against Mpumalanga Black Aces two weeks ago.

The club management revealed after Lekgwathi‘s controversial column that he will not kick the ball for the Happy People before going to a disciplinary hearing for bringing the club into disrepute.

Reports suggested that the club chairperson’s advisor, Screamer Tshabalala and the Administrative manager, Floyd Mbele, are the ones Lekgwathi referred to as the “sinister forces”.

Mbele declined to comment on the veteran’s future at the club when contacted by Sport24 two weeks ago.

The internal conflicts at the Parktown offices might bring negative impacts within the players with only three games away to the second gold star destination.

Pirates need a win or any scoring stalemate to advance to the final of the continental showpiece.

They will also play the game without the services of an industrious midfielder, Thandani Ntshumayelo, who failed a late fitness test ahead of the trip.

The much anticipated clash is Tunis is scheduled to kick off at 20:00 South African time.
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