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Exclusive: Foster Credits Former Pirates Coach

Bafana Bafana forward Lyle Foster has credited former Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios for helping him in his teenage days at the Buccaneers.

Foster, who is now 22, made his Pirates debut as 17-year-old in a 0-0 draw with Maritzburg United under then-coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojević.

The teenager came through Palacios’ academy, and had a meteoric rise at the Buccaneers, scoring just four months after his debut. He still credits the Peruvian coach and the Sea Robbers for their early role in his development. 

“From the moment I got to Pirates and worked with Coach Augusto Palacios I worked very hard,” he told iDiski Times in an exclusive interview.

“He had lots of confidence and trust in me, he’s somebody I respect and love very much. The whole journey at Pirates was beautiful, it just went by so fast. 

“Scoring at 17 was good, playing with guys like [Thami] Gabuza and Kermit Erasmus that I grew up watching in the stadium. Getting to share a pitch with them was something that was very good for me. 

Lyle Foster of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Orlando Pirates and Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium, Soweto South Africa on 20 January 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

“I think it’s something we lack in South Africa, playing youngsters at the top level. They’re labelled too young. I think a perfect example of a player taking his chance is Cassius [Mailula] at Sundowns – he’s taken it with both hands. We have the quality in South Africa, what we need is the trust from the people upstairs. 

“If nurtured properly, I think we can build a really good squad for the national team.” 

Overall, Foster made just 11 appearances for Pirates before AS Monaco brought him to Europe. However, the young striker had to go through some tough spells with Monaco and Vitoria Guimaraes before finding trust and happiness at KVC Westerlo.

After helping them to gain promotion during an initial loan spell last season, Westerlo bought the former Buccaneer at the beginning of the season before selling him to Burnley, in what is considered a new South African record move.

So far, he has made eight appearances for the Clarets, who are well on track for Premier League promotion.

You can read the full exclusive interview with Foster, which was conducted by Joe Crann, in this week’s edition of the iDiski Times newspaper – available at Shoprite stores in Gauteng or for free on our website.

iDiski Times
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iDiski Times is one of the fastest-growing football brands in South Africa. Boasting a free weekly newspaper as well as a 24/7 news website with top breaking news in the PSL (DStv Premiership, Motsepe Foundation Championship), women's football and all other major tournaments in South Africa and abroad.