Jose Riveiro respects Lepasa decision after attacker's shock Orlando Pirates exit

Orlando Pirates head coach, Jose Riveiro
Orlando Pirates head coach, Jose Riveiro
Darren Stewart

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro says he respects attacker Zakhele Lepasa's decision to leave while backing the striker to excel at SuperSport United.

The 25-year-old has endured a frustrating time at Pirates. A injury and subsequent delays in his recovery, saw the attacker miss a large chunk of the 2021/22 season, to feature just 11 times.

The 22/33 campaign brought slightly better fortunes, with Lepasa racking up 13 appearances for the Buccaneers in the first half of the season and sealing a return to the Bafana Bafana squad.

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However the arrivals of Eva Nga, Evidence Makgopa, Ndumiso Mabena and recently Souaibou Marou did not improve prospects of a starting position.

Riveiro has since indicated that a lack of game has promted the striker to seek a loan move elsewhere.

"First of all I wish all the best to Zakhele [Lepasa]. He’s a fantastic guy and very good football player," the Spaniard told journalists

"Like I said before, this is a competitive environment. We have, I think, 36 players in the squad and there’s no possibility to guarantee minutes to everyone and I understand Zakes [Lepasa] and any other player that decides that he needs to play more or he will find the possibility to get those minutes ore in another team. it's something I have to respect as a coach and accept.

"Hopefully Zakhele can show at SuperSport the player that he is.

"It’s a normal thing in football, when we talk about a big squad, a quality squad like this, it's difficult to give the players what they really deserve, it’s almost impossible and sometimes the player decides to look for that somewhere else."

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