In this week's DoRego's blog, we feature Orlando Pirates’ Lucky Lekgwathi.
The 1-0 win against Wits was a hard-fought win, you know. The guys showed character. We were playing against a good team with good players and a good coach. Obviously they signed quality players like Tinashe Nengomasha and Thomas Sweswe. Clive Barker is a good coach, so for us it was a difficult game, but at least we managed to win it, and credit must go to everyone, especially our supporters who came in numbers. They were our 12th man and were pushing us until we got that goal. It was nice to see guys like Benni McCarthy and Sifiso Myeni coming back from injury and adding value. I think they did very well. So credit must go to everyone.
You know what, our win against Wits was a big morale boost for last night’s game against Chippa United. Unfortunately I’m writing this column before the Chippa game, but if we win it, I know that the confidence will be sky-high and we will be going to the DRC in good spirit. I think we’ll make it against TP Mazembe in the Caf Champions League. We have good players who can put up a fight. We’ll just go there and play our normal game. Like I said, in our team we’ve got fighters. We’ve played there before. We went to Zambia, we won the game. We didn’t sit back. We were attacking them! We went to Comoros, we played our normal game and managed to score five goals. Even now, we’ll just go there and make sure that we play our normal game. The good thing is that they are an open book to us. We played against them and beat them and obviously we’ll just be going there to make sure that we get goals and don’t concede. The good thing is that some of our experienced guys like Benni and Sifiso who were out injured are back and will help us with their experience.
TP Mazembe’s beat Mochudi Centre Chiefs from Botswana 6-0 at home and I see they have said that they can also beat us by a huge score line, but there’s a big difference between the league from Botswana and our league. Our league is so entertaining and unpredictable. There are no more small teams and it’s tough for everyone. You know, before, teams like Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns used to win cups or beat other teams easily, but now it’s tough for everyone. You can’t compare the two leagues. That’s why I’m saying they are an open book to us. We know them very well. We’ll just plan for them, watch some of their recent videos and take it from there. It’s good because now we know their weaknesses and strengths as well as some of their good players, like their captain Tresor Mputu and Rainford Kalaba. It’s going to be easy for us to handle them.
It’s not going to be the first time playing outside of South Africa. Most of our guys like Collins Mbesuma, Onyekachi ‘Tico’ Okonkwo and I have played there before and we know the treatment. Like now... we said let’s forget about the nice treatment. In South Africa we sleep in nice hotels, with nice beds and nice food. We just need to focus on what happens on the field. We need to do the job there and forget about everything else. The senior players need to come to the party. Tico has won the Caf Champions League, Mbesuma won the Afcon, Benni played overseas and won the Champions League, Daine Klate played in the Caf Champions League, so we must just make sure that we help the youngsters and keep on advising them on how to handle the treatment. The stadium is going to be packed, but it’s not going to be the first time we play to a full house. We just need to go there and absorb the pressure by playing as a team. We need to triple our efforts!
One thing’s for sure, they know Benni very well and whenever they see him they get scared. There’ll be that tension and people in the DRC will be scared. Even when Benni was still playing for Bafana Bafana, when we played in Africa, they were scared of him. I know his experience is going to help us.
Can we go all the way? Anything can happen, but we take one game at a time. Our focus now is on TP Mazembe and after we win that, then we start focusing on the knockout stage. We know that it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be tough! I’ve played there before. We reached the semifinal with Kosta Papic. It was tough and it’s nice to share that experience with the new guys.
I know that our supporters were talking about travelling to the DRC and I wish to see them there and we’ll appreciate that. When we played in Zambia, we were happy to see them and we said to ourselves, ‘You know what, let’s just go out there and make sure we win this game for them. Let’s not disappoint them.’ They must make sure that they come to the DRC to support us, even if it’s just 10 or 11 of them. When we see them, we know that our 12th player is there. It’s everyone’s wish to win the second star, including the chairman. In terms of the players, it’s only Tico who’s won it before, so we want to make sure we win it and make history.