The Buccaneers will make a return to the continent’s premier club competition next year for the first time since they lost out in the final to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in 2013.
The Buccaneers are guaranteed to finish as runners-up in the Absa Premiership this season, booking their spot with champions Mamelodi Sundowns in next year’s edition of the Champions League.
“It’s great that Pirates are going back to the Champions League. I think it’s well deserved, especially with their performances throughout the season. They are a big team and we compare them to teams like Al Ahly, Zamalek, teams that are always in the Champions League,” said Lekgwathi, who was captain when the Soweto giants were beaten by Al Ahly in the final.
“If Pirates is not in the Champions League, I think these teams are also surprised that how come Pirates are not there. I am proud of everyone at Pirates, from the chairman, to the technical team and players. It’s a new team with a new coach, but they have managed to qualify for the Champions League.”
He added: “Pirates know the importance of winning this trophy. I am sure they are tired of hearing names like Jerry Sikhosana, Edward Motale and Williams Okpara. I am sure they want people to mention their names. So going back will be good for Pirates.”