‘Patosi is the perfect Manyama replacement’

Patosi starred as The Citizens fought back from two goals down with a fine second-half display to take a point off Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night, with the former Lokeren winger bagging a seven-minute brace.

The 25-year-old has long since been rated as one of the most talented attackers to hail from South Africa, but has yet to string together consistent performances since his return from Belgium last season.

His class has been evident in patches, but Manousakis believes the ASD Academy graduate is en route his best as he aims to shed some more weight this season.

“With ‘Pato’, it really is just a fitness issue. He’s trying to work had; he is working hard and has lost two kilograms in just over the last week or so. He’s dropped two percentage points in his body fat,” said Manousakis.

“So we’re seeing some improvement, but really if you want to go at full tilt, you’ve got to be mobile. He’s not the quickest player in the PSL, not by a long shot, but he’s deadly and he always offers you something.”

Patosi managed his first 90 minutes of the season against The Buccaneers, largely due to the gamble Manousakis took by keeping him on the park until he eventually found the net with a stunning left-footed volley and a rather fortuitous free-kick.

‘Basil’, though, feels the Khayalitsha-born talent is undoubtedly the best replacement the club could find following the departure to Turkey of former PSL Footballer of the Season and skipper Lebogang Manyama, who has since joined Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.

“It was a tough decision, there were thoughts [of substituting Patosi]. We thought about bringing ‘The Rasta’ in a little bit earlier – [Allan] Katarrega – and playing him at number-10 because of the mobility, but then Pato gives you these situations from dead-balls week-in and week-out,” he added.

“And how many corners we haven’t converted in previous games because the delivery is unbelievable from Pato – probably one of the best in the PSL.

“And then, to be fair, for the second goal he’s gone and… It’s an iffy goal, but he’s delivered and you can’t take that away from him. So we’re on his case because he’s one of the best number-10s in this League. 

“When you look at losing Lebo Manyama in that position, and you look around if there’s anybody else you would want, you would say Ayanda Patosi. But you want him in top condition.”

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