TS Galaxy coach Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela has reflected on his first encounter with young striker Zakhele Lepasa prior to signing him on loan from Orlando Pirates.
Lepasa has shot to stardom since playing a pivotal role not only in Galaxy reaching the Nedbank Cup final but also winning it, as he netted his fourth goal of the competition at the Moses Mabhida to hand his side a historic win over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.
The 22-year-old also proceeded to bag the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament at the PSL Awards for his immense contribution throughout the campaign, and has received plenty of hype having come from Orlando Pirates structures.
Lepasa joined The Rockets in January after a failed loan move to Stellenbosch at the start of the season, despite impressing during the Buccaneers’ pre-season camp in Zambia, and eventually ended up under the tutelage of former Bucs skipper Malesela.
“I didn’t bring Lepasa to the club. Tim recommended him to me, saying, ‘Look at this boy, if you like him, let’s see …’ And I said, ‘Okay, let’s see and give him a chance, there’s potential,’” revealed Malesela.
“I said, “There’s a lot of basic errors and I need to go back to the basics and work on certain aspects of the game with him, but I think he can grow. So, don’t sign him immediately but let’s have a week or so…’
“Because for me, it doesn’t take me long. It sometimes takes me three days to look at you; one day to look at you – sign. Once I feel you’re good – sign. And I hardly ever make a mistake. So, we signed him after a week, and this is what has happened.”
The budding forward started just one of Galaxy’s four matches since the Round of 16, but still continued to register a significant contribution, and ‘Dan Dance’ explained the reason behind this.
“The reason I played him in patches is because I know there’s a lot of things that he still needs to learn to do as a striker,” he added.
“One of the biggest issues is that he needs to be more of a team player, rather than more of an individual, and I’ve told him that. And it takes a lot for you to teach yourself to be a team player.
“Because the hype that goes with scoring goals when you’re young, and the media says, ‘Hey, Lepasa!’ Then you start going, “I must score; I must score today, It’s me, it’s all about Lepasa!’ You know, that changes your game and you forget about your teammates.”