FEATURE By Ernest Makhaya Follow on Twitter
Tendai Ndoro might be the main man in the Orlando Pirates’ dressing rooms right now, as he’s kissed the back of the net six times already this season, but there’s one player everyone should lookout for in Saturday’s Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, and it’s none other than Luvuyo Memela!
He had not been playing until Muhsin Ertugral decided to unleash him against Golden Arrows last weekend, and Memela didn’t disappoint.
Over the years, a section of football fans, including those from the Sea Robbers and Amakhosi, felt the Soweto Derby lost its spark, while the majority still believes that it’s one the best derbies in the world.
The truth however, is that the encounter often lacks players who can make things happen, be it creativity or goals, and Memela looks set to give the fans what they were missing.
Memela | Dynamites come in small packages
Memela provides midfield aggression, especially when his side is being bullied by opponents. His menacing runs from deep and ability to eliminate opponents should give the 90 000 plus crowd something exciting to look forward to.
Pirates have long been without a dominant attacking midfielder, who is not afraid to take on players. Thabo Matlaba came close to doing that in recent seasons, but he’s often restricted as he has to drift back and defend every time he’s dispossessed.
Thabo Rakhale and Thabo Qalinge are also genuine entertainers in the current Pirates team, but what is entertainment without goals?
Qalinge | Is he ready to be the main man for Ertugral?
Memela is small in stature and the only way he bulldozes his markers is through his fearsome attacking prowess, and if Ertugral can utilize him to his strengths on Saturday, then we’re in for a good treat.
Style wise, he resembles Jabu ‘Pule’ Mahlangu, who made Soweto Derby matches entertaining and rose to the occasion in big matches. It’s normal for players to be anxious when the world is watching, but if Memela can take that and wear it like a crown, then his contribution will be remembered for many years to come.
He showed us glimpses of what a great player he is with his individual brilliance against Arrows, and looking back at that performance, he looked like a man against boys.
And Ertugral might have unleashed him at the right time ahead of this important clash.
Should Ertugral play him more regularly and have faith in him against his biggest rivals without worrying too much about his lack of experience in Soweto Derby matches, then Memela surely has what it takes to change the perception of millions of football fans.