The 23-year-old has featured sparingly for the Soweto giants this season but his goal against SuperSport United has made the coach proud
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer believes Zakhele Lepasa has raised his hand to be in the team after struggling for game time in the first round of the season.
The 23-year-old came from the bench and netted the winner against SuperSport United as Pirates collected maximum points with a 2-1 win.
Zinnbauer said he has been watching the strikers closely in recent weeks, and Lepasa showed the willingness to break into the team by performing at training.
“In the last few days at training, Lepasa was very hot and he definitely showed he wants to come in,” Zinnbauer told reporters.
“He can help us. For two weeks it was [Tshegofatso] Mabasa,” he revealed.
With Gabadinho Mhango struggling for form in front of goal, Zinnbauer needed to find solutions for the team’s goalscoring woes.
Against Baroka, Mabasa was on target as he partnered Mhango upfront but he was relegated back to the bench afterwards.
Now, with Lepasa scoring this past weekend, Zinnbauer knows he has more options at his disposal for the remaining two matches of the season.
“This is what you need as a coach, you bring players in and they give you this performance. I am very happy that Lepasa can come in and score for us,” added the German mentor.
Finishing third would mean an automatic qualification for the Caf Confederation Cup but for Mhango, the remaining two matches are important as he’s challenging for the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award.
Perhaps, this is the reason Zinnbauer has kept faith in him despite his evident struggles in front of goal since the resumption of the season.
Mhango is currently tied on 14 league goals with Bradley Grobler of SuperSport United and Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park.
Up next for the Buccaneers is Maritzburg United in a match scheduled to take place on Wednesday night, and it remains to be seen if Zinnbauer will give Lepasa a starting berth for the match as he previously did with Mabasa after scoring against Baroka.