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Pirates Legend ‘Emotional’ About Foster Rise To EPL

Legendary former Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios has waxed lyrical about Lyle Foster’s rise from his academy, through the Soweto giants towards his path to playing Premier League football with Burnley.

Palacios, 71, was invited by Foster to attend Burnley’s final Championship game of the season – a 3-0 win over Cardiff City, which saw Vincent Kompany’s side break the 100-point mark in the Championship.

Although Foster himself remained on the bench in the 3-0 win, he joined the celebrations with his teammates after the final whistle as the Clarets celebrated topping the Championship table, a season after their relegation from the Premier League.

Foster had invited his former coach Palacios, who brought him to Orlando as a teenager and has guided him throughout his senior career, to Turf Moor alongside his family. 

“I am very proud and emotional for his achievement,” an emotional Palacios told iDiski Times.

“I arrived together with his family. Then I went to watch his training [at Burnley’s] sport facilities. Great sports facilities for players to train every day for like five to six hours.

“I know his family father Lance, mother Taryn, and sister Tori — a great family. His family is I like my family, he calls me papa, he is my son. Our love is not about money [or] publicity, it is about the player to grow.”

Palacios also insisted there was never any doubt that Foster would make it to the top because he could see from a young age that he is a special player, being supported by a grounded family.

“There was no doubt about his talent, he already showed tremendous quality at 12 years and was progressing [well]. I was always with him, he is a great boy great and got a good foundation from home,” he continued.

“I’m happy to be part of his success and I will continue to support, advise and encourage him. He was always a player that listened, a player that took instructions, and tried to learn always.

“When he was 15 I took [him] to Pirates first team to play a friendly game to experiment. At 16 years old I took [him] to Pirates. It was a great move and opportunity. 

“I communicate through WhatsApp consistently. I am in his house with the family and we share together important [decisions] to show him respect and advice in the correct manners, nothing about material [or] money — the important [aspect] is the love and guidance.

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“I did a lot individual training with him in my academy. He makes time [even] until now, I am [still] guiding him. I watch his game on DStv or internet [and] analyse him.

Foster recently praised Palacios as an important pillar in his rise through hardships to finally play in arguably the world’s best league from next season, and the former Bucs coach also sent more praise the player’s way.

“Lyle’s strength is, he is quick with the ball, he can control [and] protect, is good at shooting [and] quick in one vs one. He is [also] good at heading [and] can create goals.

“He played national team U17, U20, U23, and then Bafana. He went step by step.

“He is very focused on soccer. It is his passion and also his determination. He is not scared of anything. He’s an athlete, he focuses on his body. He works hard like to be the best [in the game].

“He’s been five years in Europe, at Monaco, in Portugal, in Belgium [and] now in England. [He went through] a very important process. Obviously, he can [now] focus to meet strong teams like Liverpool, Manchester United, and Man City. 

“It is very important to have ambitions and play at a high level. He is an APAA [Augusto Palacios Apprentice Academy] Ambassador of my academy. He is a great role model to follow and an example for young players with a lot of support from the family.”

Images sent to iDiski Times by Augusto Palacios.

Story by Lorenz Kohler (@Lorenz_KO) and David Kappel (@kappilinho).

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.