Lepasa: Orlando Pirates striker faces uncertain future after SuperSport United loan

Zakhele Lepasa of Supersport United is challenged by Siyabonga Khumalo of Golden Arrows, March 2023Backpagepix
  • Lepasa was not enjoying regular football at Pirates in the season's first half
  • That led him to hand in a loan transfer request
  • He was then sent to SuperSport on a six-month loan deal

WHAT HAPPENED? Lepasa joined Matsatsantsa in January on a short-term loan deal after struggling for game time at Pirates. Now enjoying more playing minutes, the Bafana Bafana forward has come on record saying he is not interested in going back to Pirates.

But SuperSport say they are yet to decide on whether or not to extend his stay beyond this season. The 26-year-old has scored two goals in five games across all competitions for the Tshwane side.

Interestingly, both goals came in one match as a brace and he has fired blanks in other games. Matthews has given an update on other loanees while indicating they are keen on keeping them beyond this season. However, of all those players, only Lepasa’s future is yet to be considered by Matsatsantsa.

WHAT WAS SAID: “You know, with Grant [Margeman] there is an option for us to extend the loan and we are definitely going to pursue that, and likewise with [Siphesihle] Ndlovu, we will try to push to keep him,” Matthews told Sowetan Live.

“We would like to retain all of our loan players and we are going to make every effort to keep them.

“[But] on Zakhele Lepasa, it was never discussed to keep him. I asked for a short-term loan because I felt we were a little bit shy upfront of a different type of striker because we got target men in Bradley [Grobler], [Thamsanqa] Gabuza, Sibanyoni and [Mamour] Niang. So we got four big and strong hold-ups number nines, but we don’t really have the mobile striker to move off the big man."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With seven Premier Soccer League games remaining for SuperSport, Lepasa would be hoping to have a huge influence in Matsatsantsa's top-two bid with more goals. If he struggles for more game time, that could further complicate his future.

Pirates coach Jose Riveiro might not accommodate him for next season as the Spaniard already has a bloated strikeforce of eight forwards.

However, despite Lepasa struggling to establish himself as a consistent goal-scorer, Bafana coach Hugo Broos has shown some confidence in the striker who is part of his squad for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

WHAT NEXT FOR LEPASA? Lepasa would be hoping Broos hands him some playing minutes against Liberia on Tuesday.

If he plays and scores, that would be the kind of confidence he needs coming back to the Premier Soccer League campaign which resumes this coming weekend.

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