Orlando Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa has had to endure a rollercoaster year but could well end it off with something his parent club failed to achieve.
Lepasa has spent this season away from Pirates on loan – first at First Division champions Stellenbosch FC and now at Nedbank Cup finalists TS Galaxy.
Despite enjoying a solid pre-season campaign with The Buccaneers, signing a first team contract and later scoring twice in friendly bouts with Forrest FC and Gomes FC in Zambia in July last year, the 22-year-old was deployed to the Western Cape, where he failed to break into the team under Steve Barker.
However, he was later snapped up by newly formed Galaxy in January when, according to reports, he was on the brink of joining ABC Motsepe League outfit Pele Pele FC.
Lepasa has since netted three times in three of his club’s Nedbank Cup fixtures this season as they now stand to face Kaizer Chiefs in the final this Saturday, while also earning PSL Awards nominations for Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament and Most Promising Player.
“It has been a rollercoaster year for me but what I believe in is that, whether things are going well or not, you should try and enjoy the journey and never look down on yourself,” Lepasa tells KickOff.com.
“I think that’s what happened, especially when things were not going well for me at Stellenbosch – there was nothing I could do, because the team was doing well and I wasn’t part of the team; I was just not in the plans and there’s nothing I could do about it.
“So, luckily for me, I kept on working hard when I was there, before I got the opportunity to be called up by TS Galaxy, and I’ve grabbed it with both hands.”
Asked whether he is hoping to further raise his hand for a permanent stay at Bucs next season, the level-headed attacker insisted his focus is firmly on finishing the current season off strong, potentially with a cup medal and a spot in the national under-23 team.
“I’m not thinking about it. I’ve had a good pre-season even last time, but I’m not thinking about it yet,” he added.
“After the final, I’ll then think about. But there’s also the possibility of playing for the under-23s – that’s what’s in my mind right now, is to try and get a spot there. After that, then I’ll start thinking about next season.”