Former Orlando Pirates striker Phumudzo Manenzhe has given an in-depth analysis of why the Buccaneers miss Zakhele Lepasa upfront.
The 23-year-old Lepasa has not featured for the Buccaneers in 2021 while he nurses an. While he has only scored two goals this season for the Soweto giants, Manenzhe feels the team does not have a focal point up front.
“It’s a big loss. If you are a striker and you are a big boy, your role is not only to score goals. He might have scored two goals in the eight appearances he has made for Orlando Pirates, but I’ll take you to a goal where Orlando Pirates were defending a corner kick. Lepasa got the ball on the left-hand side. He ran 80 metres to bring the ball back in for (Deon) Hotto to score. That’s the contribution they are missing,” Manenzhe said during a Babize Bonke Soweto Derby press conference earlier this week.
“When Orlando Pirates are looking to use the break attack, they have a point of reference in him. They have someone they can kick the ball to. He will control the ball. Then (Vincent) Pule will run, Hotto will run, (Thembimnkosi) Lorch will run. They have that.
“Now in (Gabadinho) Mhango, when Pirates win the ball, they don’t have that deep option to play the ball to someone who can hold it up. Mhango is a mobile striker. Yes, he scores goals, but in terms of team structure and balancing the team going forward, you can clearly see that they are missing Lepasa. That’s why they have not had a striker who plays two or three games consistently in the starting line-up. It means the shape of the team was disturbed when Lepasa got injured.”