The retired Buccaneers fan favourite takes a look at the league race that will resume next week
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Steve Lekoelea has hailed coach Josef Zinnbauer’s work with his former team, saying he expects them to win silverware if they continue doing well next season.
‘Chippa’ would not commit regarding which team will emerge as the new Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions at the end of the current campaign, saying there are many factors that will determine the race for the title.
On the other hand, the retired dribbling wizard believes the so-called small teams will be at an advantage against the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, and the Buccaneers because the games will be played behind closed doors.
“The Pirates coach [Zinnbauer] is doing a very good job. If the team can continue playing well, they will definitely win a trophy next season,” Lekoelea told Isolezwe.
“Maybe the only position they need to fix is the defence because it’s not solid. That was evident when the team was coached by Rhulani [Mokwena].”
Taking a look at the race where Amakhosi lead with 48 points from 22 games, the Brazilians have 44 from 21 matches and are in second place, whilst the Buccaneers and SuperSport United share the third spot with 40 points.
With that in mind, Lekoelea says the winners will be decided after two or three games.
“It’s very difficult to say who will win the league because the players will not have the same momentum before the games were suspended [in March],” added the retired midfielder.
“I would answer this question easily if you would have asked before the suspension of the season. I think it will take two games for the teams to adjust to playing without the fans – for now, it remains open.”
On the other hand, the former Moroka Swallows and Bafana Bafana midfielder is of the view that coach Ernst Middendorp, Pitso Mosimane, and Josef Zinnbauer’s troops will struggle behind closed doors.
“It will be very difficult to play without the supporters. Teams like Chiefs, Pirates, and Sundowns will definitely struggle,” he continued.
“It’s going to be like the players in training, this will be different than before the season was suspended. I am sure the so-called small teams are delighted because they know they have a chance to win the games.”