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Orlando Pirates’ Lepasa: ‘How Kaizer Chiefs coach Zwane rejected me’

17:19 GMT+4 26/11/2022
Zakhele Lepasa Orlando Pirates.
Orlando Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa has said Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane rejected him at the age of 16.
  • Lepasa claims Zwane ended his dream to play for Chiefs
  • Says that is the source of grudge against Amakhosi
  • Lepasa currently struggling for regular starts for Bucs

WHAT HAPPENED? The striker turned up for training at Naturena after he had been scouted by one of the club’s youth coaches.

On the day he was to meet Zwane – then head coach of the Amakhosi junior side – Lepasa says the tactician turned him down and never gave him a chance to train.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "So, he calls me [when I arrived for training], and this guy is like, ‘okay, this is the boy’, and Arthur Zwane was like, ‘oh, this is him’," the Bafana Bafana striker said.

"I was short at the time, a bit skinny. He [Zwane] is like, ‘how old are you’? I’m like 16; he is like, ‘no, no no’. He didn’t even give me a chance to train."

AND WHAT IS MORE: After he was turned down, Lepasa moved to Swallows and played for the U17 side, and he managed to be a regular for the team.

The rejection, according to the 25-year-old attacker, always motivated him to score against the Glamour Boys.

The Soweto-born star was the scorer of the only goal of the match when TS Galaxy shocked Amakhosi in the 2019 Nedbank Cup final.

He scored a penalty when Pirates defeated Chiefs in the post-match shootouts during the Carling Black Label Cup encounter on November 12.

"From Castle [League], every game I played against Chiefs from Castle, I scored, I made sure I scored," he added.

"So, the grudge started there; that’s the only team [Chiefs] I wanted to play against them."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: At Pirates, Lepasa has failed to stamp his authority on the starting XI for seasons now.

Currently, he faces stiff competition from Bienvenu Eva Nga and Kwame Peprah, as well as Kermit Erasmus, who returned to the club from Mamelodi Sundowns.

In search of an effective goal machine, coach Jose Riveiro – just like Mandla Ncikazi before him – has always alternated between Lepasa and the other strikers for games.

If Pirates sign Marou Souaibou in January as reported, it means there will be stiffer competition for the South African in the striking department.

WHAT NEXT FOR LEPASA? He and his teammates will return to action when the Premier Soccer League resumes after the World Cup break.

The Bucs – fifth on the log with 19 points - will face Mamelodi Sundowns on December 31.