Absa Premiership

Erasmus benching defended

2013-08-13 18:03
Kermit Erasmus (Gallo Images)
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Bafana train for Eagles

2013-08-13 15:04

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Johannesburg - After coming under criticism from fans for starting new-signing Kermit Erasmus on the bench last week, Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa said he had good reasons for making his decision.

"The reason why Kermit started on the bench was because we felt we needed to take control of the midfield against SuperSport United," De Sa said.

"SuperSport came with three good midfielders, and if we started with Kermit, we would have been very thin in midfield.

"So we thought, 'let's first take control of the game in midfield and use Kermit a bit later', and it worked."

Erasmus joined Pirates from SuperSport just before the season started and had only started in one of Pirates' three games this season, despite a proven reputation as a goal scorer.

Matsantsantsa fielded Kurt Lentjies, David Mathebula and Thuso Phala in the middle -- all skilled ball players -- and De Sa said his decision was based more on the side of caution as he looked to use Erasmus as an impact player.

"Kermit is not very good defensively, while he is very good going forward.

"We had to be careful, since our players had already played two tough games midweek, and we couldn’t expect only two midfielders to do the job."

The Bucs mentor praised Thulasizwe Mbuyane’s big match temperament and said he was slowly finding his touch.

"Mbuyane is definitely a big match player," De Sa said.

"He is the type of guy who always scores and performs in big games.

"He has had a bit of bad luck, with illness and a few injuries, but he has already bounced back.

"He trained extremely hard during the pre-season and managed to regain his fitness, although he is still not back to his very best."

The winger came on as a second-half substitute and announced his return with a sublime pass to set up Lennox Bacela for the equaliser which took the match into extra time.

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