Cairo - Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi said his team-mates had made it easy for him to return into the side after he had been dropped for dissent.
"For the respect, I sent a letter to the club, just to apologise to all of them, to the chairman, to the technical committee, management, supporters, Orlando Pirates ladies and to my team-mates," Lekgwathi said in Cairo on Sunday night.
"But now I am back in the team. As a senior player they were needing me, but unfortunately, my luck did not work in the final. But there is always next time."
The veteran defender led the Buccaneers onto the field in Cairo in the return-leg of the African Champions League final against Al Ahly, who retained the trophy after a 2-0 win on the night for a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Lekgwathi had not played for Pirates since September after voicing his disapproval not to be selected for the MTN8 cup final against Platinum Stars.
"It was not difficult at all to get back into the team. Credit must go to my team-mates, they made it easy for me, even if I played right back."
The 37-year-old former Bafana international said he would leave Cairo with mixed emotions.
"I am proud of myself and I am proud of my team. I think we showed character. Reaching the final, playing in Egypt, it was not easy.
"I think we lost it in South Africa, where we gave away a goal. But we still came here and we played well and created a few chances, but fortunately for them, they got two lousy chances and buried them. That is part of the game.
"But I am also disappointed as this is the cup that I was looking forward to winning. I have won everything there is to win in South Africa, so I was looking forward to winning this cup for my family, for the chairman of the team and for the Pirates supporters, but unfortunately we lost in the final, but I am still proud."
Lekgwathi said he had no plans to retire.
"My legs will tell me when the time is right. I will just continue working hard and helping the youngsters to reach where I reached."
He did not rule out extending his stay with Pirates.
"I am still going to see the chairman, but as long as my legs can carry me, I will continue playing."