‘Legs of Thun­der’en­cour­ages Ker­mit to strike while the iron is hot

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - NJABULO NGIDI

THE SHADOW of Or­lando Pi­rates’ class of 1995 looms large over any player who has worn the club’s fa­mous black and white strip in the 20 years af­ter they lifted the CAF Cham­pi­ons League tro­phy.

No mat­ter what they have done, whether it’s help­ing the club win six tro­phies in two sea­sons or giv­ing Al-Ahly their first loss at home in the CAF Cham­pi­ons League in over a decade, there is al­ways that class of 1995 who be­came African cham­pi­ons. It’s an ob­ses­sion that has made gen­er­a­tions that have fol­lowed af­ter 1995 take pride in play­ing con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball, look­ing to make their own mark at that level. Ker­mit Eras­mus went a step fur­ther by choos­ing jer­sey num­ber 95 in hon­our of the class of 1995 and their achieve­ment. Eras­mus, though, doesn’t wear his jer­sey num­ber of choice in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions be­cause the num­bers are from one-30.

The pint-sized for­ward cut a frus­trated fig­ure when he joined the Buc­ca­neers in 2013 be­cause he was cup-tied af­ter rep­re­sent­ing Su­perS­port United in the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup. He had to watch as his team­mates lost in the fi­nal of the 2013 CAF Cham­pi­ons League to Egypt’s Al-Ahly.

But tomorrow af­ter­noon he won’t be watch­ing. He will be a part of the Pi­rates’ side that is look­ing to re­move the shadow of the class of 1995 by making their own history, when they take on Etoile du Sa­hel in Sousse (kick off 4pm) in the sec­ond leg of the CAF Con­fed- er­a­tion Cup on Sun­day. The man who scored with the goal that crowned Pi­rates African cham­pi­ons in Abid­jan, Jerry “Legs of Thun­der” Sikhosana, be­lieves Eras­mus holds the key to an­other con­ti­nen­tal ti­tle for the Sea Rob­bers.

“If the boy is on song, Pi­rates al­ways wins,” Sikhosana said. “This is the pres­sure he will take. He didn’t do well in the first leg that ended 1-1. It was the same sce­nario with me in 1995, when peo­ple started boo­ing me that I didn’t score af­ter a great run from the last 16 to the fi­nal. I wanted to prove peo­ple wrong. I hope that also hap­pens with Ker­mit. He is a player who I am go­ing to sin­gle out and say he needs to step up his game. Each and ev­ery time he ups his game, Pi­rates do well.”

Sikhosana has been the goto-guy for com­ments on that his­toric run 20 years ago. But in this cur­rent gen­er­a­tion, he has lent a hand, and not just his voice. Sikhosana men­tors right back Thabo Matlaba.

In the first leg of the fi­nal of the 2013 CAF Cham­pi­ons League at Or­lando Sta­dium, Sikhosana did his tele­vi­sion anal­y­sis wear­ing the gold medal he and his own team­mates won in Abid­jan.

He told Matlaba to go out there and win his medal, as Sikhosana showed him what it looked like.

Sikhosana has a sim­i­lar mes­sage to Eras­mus.

“Go out there, boy, and make sure that you make us proud,” Sikhosana in­structed Eras­mus. “There is a rea­son why you have that ‘95 jer­sey that you chose. ”

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KER­MIT ERAS­MUS: ‘There is a rea­son you have that 95 jer­sey’

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