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HomeBetway PremiershipLekoelea On Why He Left Pirates And Lorch Similarities

Lekoelea On Why He Left Pirates And Lorch Similarities

Former Orlando Pirates winger Steve Lekoelea says he left the club due to money and shares similarities to Thembinkosi Lorch.

‘Chippa’ was a household name in South African football, having joined Pirates from Moroka Swallows in 1995 after they had won the CAF Champions League.

Having made his debut at 16 for the Dube Birds and scoring his first goal for the club shortly after, Pirates won the race for his services, and he went on to spend a decade at the club winning six trophies, including two league titles.

He was the darling of the Buccaneers as a skilful winger and free-kick specialist that earned him a place in the Bafana Bafana squad under then-coach Trott Moloto.

But the AFCON 2000 bronze medalist eventually left them for Maritzburg United in 2005 after failing to agree a new improved contract.

“The problem was money, I was looking for an increase, but there was an agreement with me and Mr. Khoza, I just wanted to play soccer, so I went to Maritzburg,” Lekolea said via the Bettor Podcast.

“They paid me a lot of money, even the signing-on fee it was my first time getting a sign-on fee in my career, R250,000 and I was earning R35,000 a month, I signed two years with an option there.”

With Lorch also not agreeing a new contract before his shock January deadline day move to Mamelodi Sundowns, Lekoelea says he understands why he made the switch.

“I know what happened with Lorch, I told them about Lorch – when he went to Sundowns, he wanted money, he’s got friends at Sundowns and footballers talk you see, you want to be like that [earn big money],” he added.

“It’s [maybe] a problem at Pirates, but I never wanted to leave Pirates. I’m Steve Lekolea today because of Orlando Pirates, I just wanted an increase [in earnings] and play soccer.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.