The veteran defender supposedly incurred the wrath of club officials when he criticised the club in the Daily Sun last week; this after he was left out of the match-day squad for the MTN8 Final defeat to Platinum Stars.
Lekgwathi also missed this past weekend’s goalless draw against Esperance in the CAF Champions League, reportedly following the passing of his aunt and the fact that his father is ill.
He will also miss tonight’s Telkom Knockout Cup match against Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Whatever the reasons for his continued absence, the majority of The Ghost feel their hopes of success depends on whether the powers-that-be and Lekgwathi can iron out their differences.
Here are some readers’ views on the commenting section and our Facebook page (some edited for length):
Without Lekgwathi’s leadership, Orlando Pirates won’t achieve what they achieved when he was the captain. Pirates’ managers and technical team must give us their side of the story and Lekgwathi do the same so we can know what’s going on there because in the last four games when Pirates played without Lekgwathi they struggled. Sangweni doesn’t motivate players like Lekgwathi was doing. Drop Lekgwathi and you’ll regret yourself.
Amos Mbhele Khanye
Lucky made a mistake like the rest of us do when we are angry. He was man enough to apologise for his mistake. We need not lose focus of the battle that lies ahead. Like him or not, he’s going to lift the CAF cup. I have forgiven you my captain.
The guy is an inspiration to his teammates and he knows how to push the guys in the right direction. When the going gets tough or the chips are down he is the first person they look up to and you will see him encouraging them to keep going, something I haven’t seen anyone doing at the moment. This is one of the best captains this team has ever had, but for him to be treated like a piece of trash is unacceptable. This guy has served Pirates with distinction and pride and he is one guy who understands what it means to wear that Pirates jersey. This guy has seen been through it all with this team –the good, the bad and the ugly – and is still going even today. This is the guy who at some stage had to play without a contract. That says a lot about the guy. He has been loyal to this brand since day one, and some Mafikozolo is trying to push him out of the team for what? What is it that he has done to be treated like this? He was sorely missed in the top 8 final and you can't take away his pedigree as a leader and the impact he has on his teammates. He did wonders in the CAF games, making it difficult for the best teams in Africa, and all of a sudden he is not even making the team? I agree that his column in the Daily Sun was out of order, but sometimes you need to give him a break and understand where he is coming from. If we don’t get him back soon for the CAF game I’m afraid we are gonna come back from Tunisia with our tails between our legs.
Captain LLLL is a true Buccaneer … when he sees wrong things happening why must he keep quiet? He is captain of the team and is therefore part of the leadership. Maybe he was wrong to write to Daily Sun, but he told truth.
Pirates is bigger than this. We had issues during Krol’s tenure with Teko and Mashego splitting the team but we carried on. Roger is clever, hence the decision to sideline LL14. Though I would like the DC to proceed faster because we need LL14’s leadership.
BUT SOME SAY LUCKY MUST GO…
Although we didn’t win against Esperance on the weekend, we have seen the beautiful football under the guidance of Sangweni in the field. We didn’t loose shape at all. My team is bigger than any individual.
Lekgwathi was too big for his shoes. How could he lay bare our dirty linen in public like that, in the middle of our tight schedule in three competitions? Give him the boot Iron Duke!
This could be a potential risk to the team’s performance as it might cause division in the camp. That was a bad decision by the captain. We don't need negative energy surrounding the camp, especially at this crucial stage (CAF semis, TKO). Honestly, I think this issue can trigger the wheels to come off.
AND SOME WANT THE CLUB TO SORT OUT ITS ISSUES …
No individual is bigger than the club, even a defending double treble captain. Having said that, it worries to fathom what would have driven a calm and disciplined player like Phinda Mzala to have such an outburst. It's ok to protect the image of the club. However, it does not look like protecting the image and reputation of the team to equally have untouchables whose contribution is but to ruin the good foundation that has been laid by hard-working people. That is a big blunder that will cost the club dearly. There is no doubt that Bucs has a big reputation, but the manner in which soft issues unfold leaves much to be desired. It seems there is less focus on team excellence and more focus on politics and witch-hunt.
Both Lucky and Khoza must sit and discuss the issue before the DC because it won’t help to discipline him without getting to the root of the whole issue. Pirates need a united team at the moment with all these tough games they are facing. And players should learn not to run to the media when they have problems with their clubs. Proper channels will help them.