Orlando Pirates forward Zakhele Lepasa admits that his meteoric rise during the 2018-19 campaign was not as smooth and easy as it appeared.
The 22-year old enjoyed a successful five months at National First Division outfit TS Galaxy as he went from being relatively unknown to winning the Nedbank Cup, and finishing as the tournament’s top goal-scorer, while also being named Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament.
In that short period of time, the Buccaneers forward also earned himself a call-up to the national team setup for the upcoming Cosafa Cup, which kicks off in Durban on 25 May.
‘The past five months have been crazy, but it’s also part of a process that has brought me to this point. I have moved from Johannesburg to the Western Cape and back to Joburg chasing my football dream, and it’s in this short time that I sit here with a national call-up and a winner’s medal from the Nedbank Cup. It’s crazy.’ Lepasa told his club’s official website.
Lepasa, who was recently named the Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament, admitted that he had his ups and downs during the 2018-19 campaign when he was loaned out to Stellenbosch FC earlier in the season and was given limited game time, as he was competing with in-form striker Iqraam Rayners for a place in the starting lineup.
In his first five months with Stellies, Lepasa could only register five appearances, two starts and three appearances off the bench, before he was recalled by the Sea Robbers. However, the forward was on the move again during the January transfer window when he joined TS Galaxy for the rest of the season.
‘The move to Galaxy was an exciting prospect for me because they have a small squad of largely young players. I knew it was going to be tough to join them, though, especially as a new player in the middle of the season, but they welcomed me and made it easy for me to settle down.’
‘I also came in knowing that the most important thing was to work hard and show the coaches that they hadn’t made a mistake in bringing me on board. I made sure that I repaid their faith in me by contributing whenever I got the chance, and I’m grateful that there is a good story to tell for all of us at the end of the season.’
He added: ‘I am someone who doesn’t believe in mistakes. I think everything that happens to us, does so for a reason. The key is whether someone chooses to ignore what has happened or to learn from it. For me, it’s the latter.’
‘My time at Stellenbosch, albeit limited, was not a waste. I thank the team for giving me an opportunity, but at the end of the day it just didn’t work out. This is football. The two loan moves have opened up my eyes as to what to expect, and as a student of the game I always look to better myself.’
Lepasa is due to return from his loan spell at TS Galaxy where he is expected to be part of the Buccaneers pre-season setup as they begin their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign.
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