Behind every successful team there’s an inspirational player. The player who can single-handedly lead his team from a 0-3 deficit to a 4-3 win.
Remember what David Beckham was to England? Or what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona? Locally, Kaizer Chiefs’ success last season was largely due to the influence that striker Bernard Parker had on the entire team, not to mention his crucial goals.
Amakhosi’s rivals, Orlando Pirates had this in Benni McCarthy. He has left, so what now? Pirates need that man they can always depend on, whether they are playing in Africa, ABSA Premiership or otherwise. Can Bacela do this? If the saying; “you are only as good as your last match” is anything to go by, then yes, he can lead the Bucs’ frontline and deliver. However, when looking at the strike rate (21 goals in 79 games) Bacela had during his time at Bloemfontein Celtic, it becomes hard to believe that he can pull this through.
One can also throw in the idea of another Bucs’ new signing, Kermit Erasmus, helping to carry the burden of scoring goals. But taking the fact that Erasmus excels more by playing behind the striker, giving him the responsibility to bang in goals week in and week out might be a little bit unfair on him. Besides, Erasmus will not feature in the CAF champions’ league; one title that Pirates badly want this season. There is also Collins Mbesuma, who has been out of shape and form recently, and Thulasizwe Mbuyane who played well in the game against SuperSport United and given time to get to his best maybe, just maybe, he can help Bacela with scoring goals.
Bacela has not scored in the league or Champions’ League in the Buccaneers colours. His only two goals came in the MTN8 encounter against Matsatsantsa this past weekend and obviously going forward the Bucs’ faithful will be hoping that he will continue with his goal scoring form when Pirates host Egyptian giants Zamalek on Saturday.
Although scoring a brace and converting a penalty might have been a huge confidence booster for Bacela, he should know that when one scores for Pirates, it does not bring relief. Instead it brings more pressure from the teammates, management, technical team and most importantly, the fans. Everyone expects you to stay at the top and keep scoring the goals.
Having a team of Pirates’ calibre depending on you for goals doesn’t only depend on your physical condition; it also has to do with the state of your mind. Looking at the game against United, both his goals were equalising goals and this goes to show that he has the right attitude to pick up a team that is trailing and put them on his shoulders as he, together with the team, soldier on to get out of the situation they might be in at that point.