‘Legs of Thunder’encourages Kermit to strike while the iron is hot
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. ”
KERMIT ERASMUS: ‘There is a reason you have that 95 jersey’