Pirates coach Riveiro explains why Lepasa was loaned to SuperSport
Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has explained why Bafana Bafana international striker Zakhele Lepasa was sent on loan to SuperSport United this week.
Lepasa, 25, who has made 10 league appearances, and most of those from the bench, this season, joined United on a loan deal until the end of the season to get more game time, Riveiro said.
Speaking as they prepared to face Mamelodi Sundowns in a DStv Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, Riveiro said there is tough competition for places at Bucs.
“I wish all the best to Zakhele because he is a fantastic guy and a very good football player,” the soft-spoken Spaniard said.
“Like I said before, this is a very competitive environment with 36 players in the squad and there is no possibility to guarantee any minutes to anyone. I understand all the players who decide they need to play more and they want to find those possibilities at a different place.
“It is something I will have to respect and accept and hopefully he will show the player that he is at SuperSport United. It is a normal thing in football, especially when you think about a big and quality squad like we have.”
Riveiro has a big squad of more than 30 players to juggle at Pirates, and the signing of Cameroonian World Cup squad member Souaibou Marou means competition among strikers is tough.
Bucs also have Evidence Makgopa, Bienvenu Eva Nga, Kermit Erasmus, Terrence Dzvukamanja and Ndumiso Mabena to choose from up front. Ghanaian Kwame Peprah was also loaned out in recent weeks, to Maritzburg United.
“We cannot guarantee giving the players what they deserve [in terms of playing minutes] — it is almost impossible. Sometimes a player decides to look for that reward elsewhere somewhere and it is something respectable, it is not going to be a problem,” Riveiro said.
United captain Onismor Bhasera said Lepasa is coming to the right environment and the third-placed Premiership club wants him to rediscover his form as they chase a Caf Champions League or Confederation Cup spot.
“It is very good to have him, we know what he is capable of. He can score goals, he can create, he works hard. We are looking forward to working with him and we hope he can rediscover his form.
“I know he wasn’t getting enough game time at Pirates, hence he asked for a loan to come here to SuperSport. He has come to the right club, he has come to the club, which is a family.”
Lepasa might make his Matsatsantsa debut in their league game against Cape Town City at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
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