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Steve Lekoelea: Orlando Pirates must be patient with injury-prone Thabo Qalinge

4:11 PM EDT 7/27/18
Thabo Qalinge of Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs
Goal spoke to the former Bucs winger about the talented player, who is currently nursing an injury

Orlando Pirates legend Steve Lekoelea has urged the club to remain patient with Thabo Qalinge.

The attacking midfielder has struggled with injuries which have hampered his progress at the Soweto giants in the past few seasons.

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers announced that Qalinge could miss the start of the 2018/19 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign.

This after Qalinge suffered a muscle abductor strain in a friendly match against National First Division (NFD) club Stellenbosch FC last weekend.

Lekoelea, who was on the books of Pirates between 1996 and 2005, believes that Qalinge will overcome his injury problems and fight for his place in the team's starting line-up.

"I strongly believe that Thabo is still an important part of the team at Pirates despite his injury problems," Lekoelea told Goal

Qalinge, who spent four months on the sidelines after picking an injury in December 2017, featured in 17 league games last season and he netted three goals.

"Thabo is a very good player, who always makes an impact whenever he is fit and playing games," the former South Africa senior and youth international continued. 

"He has been unfortunate with injuries which are part of the game. I think he will overcome his injury problems," the 39-year-old explained. 

Lekoelea feels that the 26-year-old winger still has a lot offer at Bucs, who are under the guidance of Serbian tactician Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic. 

"I believe that he will bounce back stronger from his latest injury and help Pirates challenge for trophies next season," added Lekoelela.

"The club and the supporters need to be patient because he still has a lot to offer," the retired midfielder concluded. 

Pirates will open their 2018/19 PSL campaign against Highlands Park at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday, August 4.