Lehlogonolo Masalesa has stepped up to the plate for Orlando Pirates following the departure of Andile Jali.
‘Vieira’ as the Buccaneers midfielder is known, nicknamed after former Arsenal and French international Patrick Vieira, earned himself the ‘Man of the Match’ award in Pirates 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday night, and in doing so put many minds at ease.
Football pundits have suggested that the Buccaneers would struggle without the likes of Jali in the heart of their midfielder, but Masalesa proved the naysayers wrong on Monday.
Jali has left the Soweto giants to pursue greener pastures overseas in Belgium where he has signed for KV Oostende.
Speaking after Pirates Absa Premiership win over Ajax, Masalesa said: “It was always going to be a tough game, especially as we haven’t being getting results, but we stuck it out tonight.
“Congratulations to Orlando Pirates and the positive mood we tried to keep even when results weren’t going our way.”
Touching on the subject of Jali, he added: “Obviously, losing a player of Andile’s calibre is a big loss to the club, but I don’t think they would have let him go if they didn’t think they had people capable of continuing where he left off.
“As a professional you always have to be ready, so that when you are called upon you don’t let the team down and I am glad that I contributed positively towards the team’s success tonight.”