LENNOX BACELA has been confirmed as the new Orlando Pirates premier poacher as the Buccaneers prepare to open their African Champions League Group A campaign.
Before their opening clash against Congo champions AC Leopards at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday (8pm), Pirates coach Roger de Sa revealed the 30-year-old former Bloemfontein Celtic striker has moved to the top of the pile after his predatory pre-season progress.
The elusive De Sa, talking from his (noisy) 67-minute Madiba Day charity event at Tembisa Primary School, said: "Sheez, it’s a tough game, they're a good team Leopards, from what I've seen on the videos.
"All the opposition at this point is tough, but what makes it tougher is they're in the middle of their season, we haven't played for a while.”
Talking on the fifth edition of my BOLLOCKZ! show on www.ballz.co.za, Roger said: "If you mix with the African champions, we've got to do the business, especially at home. We've got to step up. I'm looking for a good start, let's take it from there.
"Lennox has come in and done well for us, he's a very mobile one, that's what we needed. He's got four goals in two friendlies.
"Bacela got two goals in the friendly for the King of Lesotho last weekend, he is the in-form guy right now, he'll start on Saturday. He gives us different options."
With the great Benni McCarthy retired and unwanted Zimbabwean Takesure Chinyama training at PSL rivals Bidvest Wits, De Sa added: "Our Zambia striker Collins Mbesuma is struggling with his form and fitness but I'm sure he'll play a part as well.
"We're a little bit weak in defence, everyone knows about our suspensions and injuries (Bafana star Siya Sangweni in particular) so we've got to take the game to them. Our attack is our strong point.
"We can't sit back. Bacela's mobility is something we needed, I hope we'll supply him. I just hope he continues the scoring spree!"
On technical director Stanley "Screamer" Tshabalala's dealings with Supersport United's unsettled striker Kermit Erasmus (he scored their second in the 2-0 win over Manchester City at Loftus on Sunday), De Sa laughed: "We're just one of the clubs interested in Kermit, he'd be a great addition to the team without a doubt.
"If we get him, great, if we don't we've got to move on and look for somebody else."
With Pirates playing Leopards at Orlando on Saturday, the two Egyptian giants in the group - Al Ahli and Zamalek - have been forced to move their clash to an obscure Red Sea resort on Wednesday to avoid the Morsi-fuelled problems in Cairo.
Roger said: "We've seen a lot of things on television about Egypt. It might be the right time to play their best teams in the African Champions League
"But it will still be tough - it might not weaken them, it may even take the pressure off them. It might be more relaxed for them at a neutral venue.
"Without a doubt, it's been in the back of our minds - where and how we're going to play them in two weeks."
But the game which could define Roger's reign on Saturday remains paramount.
With Pirates in their new “back-to-black” strip to start the new season, De Sa said; "We're hoping for a good crowd in Orlando on Saturday, we haven't had football there for a while.
"We are the last South African club to fly the flag in Africa, we're looking forward to it, we want to do the country proud."
You can listen to BOLLOCKS! every Thursday, 10am-noon on www.ballz.co.za or read "Neal and Pray" every Tuesday in The New Age.
This week on BOLLOCKS! was unmissable, with Gordon Igesund talking from an orphanage in Zambia after Bafana's penalty shoot-out defeat against the hosts in the COSAFA Cup and former Bundesliga star Bradley Carnell talking about his youth trials on Saturday at the University of Johannesburg.
We also spoke to SuperSport United CEO STANLEY MATTHEWS about Kermit Erasmus and the future of SuperSport United and Siyavuma Sport managing director Paul Mitchell revealed the background to South Africa's impressive youngster Buhle Mkhwanazi and the mysterious MOLE discussing Wayne Rooney's future in the UK. I've added some of those videos below.
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