Orlando Pirates loanee Zakhele Lepasa says he asked for the loan to SuperSport United as he came to terms that opportunities would become few and far between.

Lepasa, 25, has always been held in high regard at Pirates but has struggled with regular game time and fitness.

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But during separate loans in the second tier with Stellenbosch FC and TS Galaxy, he emerged as a fan favourite before evening breaking into the Buccaneers first-team due to scoring the winning goal for the Rockets over Kaizer Chiefs in the 2019 Nedbank Cup final.

At the start of the 2022/23 season it appeared Lepasa would be the first choice and his early displays earned him a place in the Bafana Bafana squad, but Pirates have since signed Kermit Erasmus, Souaibou Marou, Ndumisa Mabena while Terrence Dzvukamanja moved ahead of them all in the pecking order that includes Bienvenu Eva Nga.

“I’m doing well, it’s a different environment but what I like is the freedom that I’ve been given, to learn and make mistakes, so I’m settling in well, to try and help the team,” Lepasa said at SuperSport training on Wednesday morning.

“Honestly, I’m the one [who asked for the loan], the club did not agree, I think the whole of January but I asked for it because I just thought I needed to play a bit more, so I can gain my strength and confidence back.

“Being back and forth, playing, then three games you don’t play and then play, you don’t know where your career is going.”

Lepasa went on to add that he still has a long-term contract with the club but doesn’t have complete faith that his long-term future would see him become their number-one striker.

“I asked for the loan, I still have a lot of years left at Pirates, you can imagine, I just thought about it, each and every year, the same thing will happen,” he added.

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“Probably at the end of the season, they will bring in three more strikers and you will always be down there even if you push yourself, one mistake you’re out, so it doesn’t really work out for me.”

Lepasa has scored once this season, during a league win over Galaxy, and has yet to open his account for Matsatsana.


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