With confirmation that Happy Jele is out suspended for Sunday's CAF Champions League final second leg, it leaves Roger de Sa with something of a quandary. How does he re-jig his defence to accommodate the loss of his regular and reliable right back?
The solution here seems to bring back Lucky Lekgwathi in at centre back and then shift Ayanda Gcaba to left back. This would then mean that Thabo Matlaba would swop sides and play on the right. It seems like it’s not entirely the worst situation for Bucs to be in. Yes, you will lose Jele’s physicality and attacking prowess down the right flank, but what you perhaps gain might be better.
It was Gcaba’s gifting of possession to Al Ahly that led to Mohamed Aboutrika’s first goal in the first leg. Even for the Red Devils’ second disallowed goal, the normally reliable defender seemed to get caught out of position, which left Rooi Mahamutsa exposed in a one versus two situation.
Gcaba has been in great form of late but perhaps even he’ll admit that his showing against Al Ahly wasn’t his best.
Bringing an experienced leader like Lekgwathi back into the mix might give Bucs an added defensive iron. He is one of the best headers of the ball at the club - another good reason for him to be included.
In the first leg, Al Ahly goalkeeper, Sherif Ekramy, subjected Bucs to something of a long ball aerial bombardment. ‘Phinda Mzala’ could just be the man to deal with this in the second leg in case the Egyptians go down that route again.
Captain Fantastic’s return to the line-up will no doubt lift the players and the fans alike. This is why Jele’s suspension could in fact be a blessing in disguise for Bucs, although only time will tell.