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‘Chippa’ opens up on why he left Orlando Pirates

Steve Lekoelea

Steve Lekoelea has opened up on his reasons for turning down a contract offer from Orlando Pirates 15 years ago in favour of a move to Maritzburg United.

‘Chippa’ shocked the Buccaneers faithful by opting to join the Team of Choice, and he says the reason was a simple one … crazy money.

“I left Pirates to join Maritzburg United because of money. It was nothing except money. Those people gave me money before I could even sign,” Lekoelea told

“I drove down to Durban in the morning and before I could even sign they gave me money. I drove back to Johannesburg the same day carrying the money. That was even before I could do some other stuff like medicals. Before I could sign I was already having the money.

“I can't tell you the amount but it was a lot of money.”

Lekoelea’s decision to snub a new contract from Pirates was all the more surprising given his affinity with the club - he was the last person since the legendary Jomo Sono to wear the fabled number 10 jersey.

“I don't have any regrets about my stay at Pirates. I enjoyed myself at the club. The club still holds a special place in my heart.

“I have special memories with that number 10. Remember I also wore jersey 110 at Pirates. It was only me and Jomo to wear jersey 110.”


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