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Orlando Pirates coach Zinnbauer: I had to wake Lepasa up

The former TS Galaxy striker has shown he is potentially one for the future with some promising displays over the past couple of months

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has praised up-and-coming striker Zakhele Lepasa while also conceding he’s not the finished product yet.

The 23-year-old has made the most of the opportunities that have come his way due to the injury absences of Gabadinho Mhango and Tshegofatso Mabasa.

Lepasa scored in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final win over Kaizer Chiefs and also converted a pressure penalty last weekend in Bucs’ 2-1 league win over SuperSport United.

He’s generally led the line well and has shown good pace, movement and has played with a fair amount of authority and confidence for a player without much top-flight experience, at one of South Africa‘s biggest clubs.

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Lepasa, who scored the winning goal for TS Galaxy in the 2019 Nedbank Cup final against Kaizer Chiefs, was also recently involved for the South African U23 side and scored against Saudi Arabia.

According to Zinnbauer, it has been a case of getting the player focused and in the right frame of mind.

“I had to wake him up, he was not always ready for what we want,” the German was quoted as saying by the Citizen.

“But we know his quality, he works very well with the ball and without the ball. Even the penalty situation, he is the one who was fouled. It was a good combination with Nkanyiso Zungu.

“He is hot, he wants always to score and he is a player who always wants to win games. He does all of that and we are happy about this (his performance),” Zinnbauer continued. “But we need a little time for improvement from what we want in the game, but at the moment we are happy about this.”

Despite Lepasa’s good form, he now faces a big battle to keep his place in the team.

This is because Mabasa has recovered from injury and also scored against SuperSport United, an 87th-minute winner, while Mhango is also expected back very soon.

In addition, the Buccaneers have signed DR Congo striker Jean-Marc Makusu. Pirates are next in action against Baroka FC in a league encounter at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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