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Photo: Lefty Shivambu. Credit: Gallo Images

CAPE TOWN– Players come and go but legends live forever. One such legend who hails from Ga-Rankuwa has undoubtedly cemented himself as a lifetime figure at Orlando Pirates.

On Thursday night, Orlando Pirates took time off to honour Lucky Lekgwathi for his 14 years of service in the colours of the mighty Buccaneers.

During this period, Lekgwathi has seen many players come through the ranks.

One of several players paying tribute was Diane Klate of Wits. “Lucky was one of the first people to welcome to Orlando Pirates, he told me he was happy that I joined the club. He said that he was aware that I was a winner and that he wanted me to help him win trophies for the club.

“The key thing is that he knew how to make you feel welcomed which was an important part of the club’s success.

“He believed long before any of us bought into the dream and to be honest he was the catalyst behind those two magical seasons with Pirates.

“After winning the MTN8 he came to me again and said look this is the beginning we can get more if we work together and the rest is history we won the double trouble back to back.”

Andile Jali, who plays overseas with Oostende was all praise. “It was good, when I joined the club he was the captain and he made me feel welcomed like I belonged at Pirates.

“He was a great motivator. When he spoke to the players he always had the ability to make us believe. Especially when we were down and out, it was like he always had the right words. He was never satisfied with the average performance, he always pushed and demanded more from us.

“He was hungry for success and he made us want to win. He made us believe we can win the treble.”

Pirates legend Okpara Williams was asked what he thought made Lucky special.

“Lucky is very respectful, it doesn’t matter that you are a senior or junior player. To him, you are treated the same. It’s a rare quality because in this day and age, people are losing that value of respect and good manners.

“He is also very humble, and loyal. You should see how he interacts with the fans. There are times when we are on the road with the players doing activations and he is always the last to leave. The fans love him and he loves the fans. He always treats them as his family.

“It was always a pleasure to work with ‘Slagga’ because you knew that whatever situation the team was in, he would always have constructive feedback and advice. He was an inspiration because he worked so hard and he believed in himself.

“Lucky is first and foremost a family man. In all the time that I have known him, he has mentioned his family at every opportunity. I knew them before I even met them because of how he talks about them. He is also a fighter, never gives up.”

Another former Bucs player Gerald Raphahlela added: “I first met Lucky when I was playing at Real Rovers. He came on trial as a striker because where he played before, he had a powerful shot.

“He was very aggressive and as a striker, you don’t need the amount of aggression that he had. So I told him that he was better suited as a defender, and because of his shot and footwork, playing from the back meant he would have more time and space to get forward.”

– African News Agency