OPINION: Letlotlo can succeed


'Adebayor' was promoted from the reserve team to the delight of many who had called for him to get a shot in the first team and breathe some life into a tired and ageing strikeforce.

I believe the mandate for the 20-year-old Letlotlo, as it stands right now, is simply to grow as a footballer and adjust to the rigours of professional football at Kaizer Chiefs.

That particular directive requires patience from the club and fans alike should they wish to see this precocious young player fulfil his potential.

The club have probably not placed any significant pressure on Letlotlo to perform straight off the bat but the inclination amongst fans is always to expect their young talents to immediately become 'the next big thing.'

If the past is any indication then Letlotlo, who was afforded patience by Chiefs last season in the Multichoice Diski Challenge, will ultimately deliver the goods if given time.

Cast your mind back to the fruitful goal scoring season he enjoyed with the Amakhosi MDC side as a useful gauge as to how well Letlotlo responds to having the backing of his coaches.

Many seem to forget the dreadful spell of nine games that he went without a goal because in the end he grabbed the golden boot and that difficult period was banished to the further reaches of our memories by most who were invested in this progress.

However, it is pertinent to note that Letlotlo only recovered from that slump because of the unwavering support he received from coach 'Ace' Khuse who persisted with fielding him despite his form.

The reality though, at least for the time being, is that Letlotlo is the proverbial 'mercurial' player - stunningly brilliant in patches and abjectly awful at other times.

This could simply be a consistency issue that is so often associated with young players and easily remedied through good coaching.

And the coaches at Chiefs certain have a great raw product to mould - a player that possesses all the right attributes to have a great career at the highest level.

For starters there is no ignoring Letlotlo's startling pace, so apparent to anyone who has spent time watching him and the attribute that a large part of his game is built around.

Pair that pace with slightly better timing of his runs, which is a coachable asset, and you have yourself a lethal player.

Letlotlo has struggled with getting his runs in behind the defenders correct, anxiety that he may miss an opportunity to break often prompting him to leave his mark to early -but these are problems Steve Khompela and his team can work to correct.

Despite these problems with trying to beat the offside trap, Letlotlo's positioning and intuition inside the 18 yard area are something to be marvelled at.

He has an uncanny ability to evade defenders and steal in at the near post, completely undetected, to pick up low crosses and turn them home usually, and very impressively, from incredibly tight angles.

First time finishes are his forte and he feeds on balls that come across his body due to his ability to sweep them neatly past the keeper with unerring accuracy.

However, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to do as well against wily top flight defenders as he was against his MDC adversaries.

All in all Emmanuel 'Adebayor' Letlotlo has what it takes, it just depends on whether the fans will get behind him and remain behind him should he encounter a rough patch.   

By Grant Bisset