Pirates made the strange decision to ship Chabalala out on loan to Chippa United halfway through last season, even though he was one of their best performing players. In the eight league games Chabalala played for the Buccaneers, they kept three clean sheets.
Chabalala enjoyed a good second half of the season at Chippa, while Pirates conceded soft goals, partly due to the chopping and changing in central defence.
Lekgwathi is hoping the return of Chabalala, who won a few man-of-the-match awards before leaving for Chippa, will bring much needed improvement at the back for the Buccaneers.
“I was so surprised to see him go out on loan because he was coming alright. He will become a better player. I rate the boy highly. He is the future of Pirates and I think he can be one of the best players at the club,” Lekgwathi tells KickOff.com.
“I am happy. The good thing with him is that he wants to learn. If you look at last season we were conceding soft goals and he can help the team if they give him a chance,” he adds.
Lekgwathi says he told Chabalala to give former Pirates defender Tonic Chabalala a call to ask him about his productive time at Pirates. Tonic is best remembered for shutting out Collins Mbesuma whenever the Buccaneers played Kaizer Chiefs.
“When he joined Pirates, I called Justice and told him to call Tonic Chabalala to find out what he did to make it at Pirates. He did what I asked him to do. Some players have pride and they would not do that. It showed that he wanted to make it at Pirates.”