Orlando Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa has shown flashes of brilliance in the new 2020/21 campaign, making waves as he builds towards being one of the best assets South Africa has in the forwards department.
Lepasa has featured in six matches for Pirates in all competitions so far this season‚ netting one goal against Kaizer Chiefs in an MTN8 semifinal clash.
South Africa under-23 coach David Notoane is convinced that the Soweto-born striker is showing the maturity required to lead the front line of the junior national team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next year.
The Pirates hitman was part of Notoane’s U23 squad that played two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia. SA suffered a 3-2 defeat in the first game before playing out to a 1-all draw in the second clash.
The 23-year-old striker found the back of the net in the first game. “Lepasa has shown his hand after coming through the last few under-23 camps and in this camp he has really shown maturity and we are happy about that‚” said Notoane.
“Is he the one who will score goals for us? There is hope and I believe he will do that if he continues with his form at Orlando Pirates.
“He brings the confidence he is getting from playing matches at Pirates to the national team,” added Notoane, who is hopeful that Lepasa will continue to get game time at the Buccaneers.
Notoane and his young troops touched down at OR Tambo International Airport from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
“I think this was a very successful camp in terms of the under-20 players graduating to the under-23s‚ but it was also about blending in new players and I am happy on that note,” he said.
“One of the things to come out of this camp is that we adapted tactically and put certain challenges to the boys to be able to dominate the game playing away from home.
“In the second match we saw a game where we tactically dominated and going forward, we want to improve our level of tactical cleverness and game intelligence. So, the response from this camp was positive.
“From a physical perspective, I have put it to the players that at the Olympics we must be at a level where we are world class and are able to compete pound for pound with our competitors.”
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi