‘Some would call Bacela arrogant’

Orlando Pirates

Larsen, now in charge at Maritzburg United, coached Bacela at Bloemfontein Celtic last season, before the striker made a move to the Buccaneers, surprising a lot of fans who pointed out his low strike rate at the Free State club.

Bacela scored nine goals in 27 starts for Phunya Sele Sele last season, but so far this season has hit double figures, with 10 goals in 16 matches.

But Larsen says it was inevitable the striker would improve, surrounded by a quality squad in Parktown.

“Lennox is a player that some people will call arrogant but he is very confident young man.

“He is now 31 years old and at Celtic he got nine goals in one season and eight, and seven, so in three season he really did the business.

“So at a club like Pirates with so much quality around him he was bound to excel. More chances will be created for him and I think we are starting to see that from him.

“But I always knew that he was a good player and I wish him all the best.”

When pressed, however, Larsen admits he does not believe the quality of the final ball is greater at Pirates, but rather that the level throughout the squad is higher.

“It’s not only about the supply into box,” he says, “it’s about dominating games for long periods of time and creating those chances.

“That what the likes of Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns do, with the quality they have at their disposal. They create a lot more clear cut chances, there are national team players in abundance in these squads and Bacela is thriving in that environment.

“I wish him all the best for his new exploits, as he is preferred in that front forward line by Roger de Sa. He is a great centre-forward and they will get a lot from him.”

The Maritzburg man adds that he would be slightly concerned about how fan pressure at Pirates may affect Bacela, but believes he could even do the job for Bafana Bafana.

“Of course, at some stage, he will drop off form and fans will give him a kick in the backside but that he will have to deal with in his own way.

“I hope the surroundings that he has will help him progress to be fierce striker in the country and possibly be called to the national team.”