Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Steve Lekoelea has expressed disappointment over the team’s failure to win the league and offered advice to the current crop of players.
Though there would be plenty to feel optimistic about at Pirates following their progress over the past two years, missing out on the Absa Premiership title will certainly be rued.
The Buccaneers had arguably their best chance of winning a first championship in seven years as they were pipped to the crown by defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns on the final day of the campaign last weekend.
Lekoelea, who starred in the black and white between 1995 and 2005, has admitted it was sad to see them miss out but feels they only have themselves to blame, while also crediting the improvement of the team under Milutin Sredojevic and Rhulani Mokwena.
“I’m disappointed that Pirates lost the league – they were supposed to beat Cape Town City so that they could finish the season very well,” said Lekoelea.
“But I think Pirates have improved too much, it’s only that game that they were supposed to win. The coaches have done very well – that combination of Rhulani and Micho.”
Asked whether there are any similarities between the current crop of players and that of the infamous Kosta Papic era, when performances yielded no trophies, ‘Chippa’ insisted that there are positive signs that silverware could soon return to the Soweto giants.
“No. it’s different now. They are playing a lot of games and they are winning, that’s why they are in position two in the league,” he defended.
“I don’t know when they will start winning things, but I think the problem is that they need to start well and win the first few games [in the league].
“They mustn’t start playing only when the league is finishing, they need to start better because Pirates is a big team and, you know the supporters, if you don’t win anything, the coach is in trouble.”