Erstwhile Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi is not convinced Mamelodi Sundowns can emerge victorious against his former team in what promises to be a thrilling Absa Premiership encounter at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto this evening.
Lekgwathi watched Sundowns battle their way into the final of Nedbank Cup after narrowly edging out Bidvest Wits 3-2 over the weekend. Lekgwathi noticed frailties in Pitso Mosimane’s team and he is confident the Buccaneers can exploit them to victory tonight.
“I watched Sundowns play Wits and the way they play, there’s no way they will beat Pirates. If you look, the downfall of Pirates is conceding goals, lousy goals but we can score. Even if Pirates concede against Sundowns, Pirates are going to score more goals if they don’t change their defence. Sundowns’ weakest link is in central defence,” Lekgwathi told FARPost.
Sundowns defence, faulty over the weekend, will have to contend with a Pirates attack led by Gabadinho Mhango, who has found the net 14 times in the league so far. Lekgwathi feels Mhango, who scored the solitary goal in Pirates’ win over the Brazilians earlier this year, will be too hot to handle for the defending champions.
“Sundowns will be playing against the current top goal scorer. It’s going to be difficult to mark him because he is hungry to be the top scorer. He wants to continue where he left off. He is still going to continue with the hard work and score goals,” said Lekgwathi.
Prior to Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, Lekgwathi, who was in Malawi for his former teammate Joseph Kamwendo’s testimonial match in March, got encouraging news from Mhango’s compatriots.
“Mhango’s close friends were talking about him. You can tell that he is happy to play for Pirates and he respects the badge. He is willing to die for the team. If you hear his story, then you will understand why he is so serious about his career,” said the former Bafana defender.
“One thing I like about foreign players is that they take their jobs seriously. You can see when Mhango plays that he does so wholeheartedly. He respects his job. He understands the team he plays for. Pirates are not an ordinary team.”
Pirates will have to be extraordinary to overcome Sundowns in a match where stakes are high. Sundowns and Pirates, who are second and fourth with 44 and 40 points respectively, are hunting log leader Kaizer Chiefs, with 48 points, for the championship.
Any slip up by either side could prove detrimental to their chances and beneficial to those of Amakhosi.
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By Hosea Ramphekwa