The past few months have been the busiest for me in a very long time. I have not really had time to sit and chat with any of my friends or anyone for that matter, which is why I could not let the opportunity to chat with the legendary Lucky Lekgwathi I took with both hands as he humbly unpacked his views on the issue of football development in our country.
The former Orlando Pirates Captain reflected on our glory days.
“Development used to be amazing in South Africa, if you remember we managed to beat Brazil in the U/23 with the likes of Benni McCarthy,” he said.
He also emphasized that development is crucial in every country, he says when you look at the current Bafana Bafana squad, it is made up mostly of players who have never played for the U/20 or U/23 which sometimes makes it difficult for them to perform as they start having a professional coaching late in their careers.
“Orlando Pirates used to promote players from the development side, if you look at the likes of Gift Leremi, Lebogang Mokoena, and Tlou Segolela just to name a few” said Lekgwathi who led Pirates during their unprecedented double treble triumphs.
He encourages coaches and club owners to look into developing players before promoting them to the senior team. He also says he feels coaches like Pitso Mosimane, Micho and Rhulani Mokoena should go to places like the township to develop young coaches.
“I feel like when you come from a township it’s very difficult for you to make it into big teams, especially if you are a coach. Coaches who are already in the PSL should call these coaches to shadow them during training,” Lekgwathi added.
He says he respects Orlando Pirates for hosting development tournaments like the Pirates Cup.
“I personally saw a lot of good players and I think it’s also amazing that other team scouts were here,” he explained.
He says his aim is to give back to the community with his foundation which is called The Lucky Lekgwathi Foundation.
“I always go to old age homes to buy them groceries and food for winter. I am also hosting a tournament in July and some of the scouts will be there like my former coach Augustos Paulacious,” he said.
Bafana Bafana will be representing South Africa at this year’s African Cup of Nations and Lekgwathi feels the side has a better chance of making us proud.
“Bafana has got a good coach, he coached me, we went to USA and we managed to beat a team like Mexico, so I really believe players will do well under the guidance of Stuart Baxter.” He concluded.