Following Lobtrans Gunners’ unceremonial parting of ways with erstwhile former Zambian international leftback, Aggrey Chiyangi, one of the team’s brightest youngsters, Kemmy “Gweru” Pilato has broken the silence.
In an interview with Sunday Standard Sport, the 20-year-old combative midfielder said he was shell-shocked that Chiyangi was shown the door so soon.
“Chiyangi was starting to settle in very well. He was starting to get our combinations right, alongside Innocent Morapedi but now we have to start all over again,” said Pilato.
Pilato said that if he had his way, he would have given Chiyangi at least three years to work with Morapedi.
“Chiyangi was wealthy in technical areas, whilst Morapedi knew the mindset of the local players better. Together they were going to make a brilliant technical team,” he said.
“Mogobagoba” sacked the Zambian mentor after a series of losses during the pre-season tournaments. The Peleng giants lost twice to Mascom Premier league rookies, Uniao Flamingo Santos.
But Pilato said; “People were not supposed to read much into our results in the pre-season because we were experimenting with new players,” said Pilato.
The Tutume-born player, capped 13 times by the national Under-20 team, said Gunners will soldier on to get a respectable position in the league this season.
“What is left is for the team administration to try and motivate the players more. We also need to make some few signings to make our squad a balanced one. You will agree that Gunners is a brand and it is up to us the players to maintain the stats quo of the team. If we lose good players like Flo, equally good replacements, if not better, need to be effected as a matter of urgency,” he added.
The player, who grew up supporting Notwane Football Club, said Gunners would make their mark this season.
“Yes, I grew up supporting Notwane. My family supports Notwane even up to this day. My dad wanted me to go to Notwane but I had already made up my mind,” he added.
Pilato said that he horned his skills at Notwane, alongside his favourite local players, Dirang Moloi and teammate Othusitse “Spheto” Mahube.
“Notwane were dragging their feet when they were supposed to promote us. I joined Gunners in 2004 after being recruited by Innocent Morapedi. What made my stay at Gunners a good one was that my friend ‘Spheto’ had joined the team a year earlier, so I did not feel out of place,” said Pilato.
On his prospects of donning the Zebras jersey, the Old Naledi raised player said he was ready.
“As you might be aware, I outshine the very guys who play in my position in the national team. Perhaps the authorities feel I am still young. I believe that if one is capable of competing, he must be given a chance. Age is just a number. Maybe the new coach will have a look at some of us. I do not want to put pressure on myself and other players who are overlooked because our time will come,” he said.
Pilato is a complete footballer by our local standards. He plays in midfield but he always gets in goal scoring positions to bag them himself. He is one of the few locally based players who does the simply stuff, an absolute antithesis of his best friend, Mahube.
“Spheto has always liked dribbling the ball. Coaches must play him to his strengths. He is lucky because all the coaches he had played under at Gunners seem to understand him,” he said.
On his impending move to Prisons XI, Pilato said those were just unfounded rumours.
“Even the Prisons XI guys never approached me. I just saw that in the papers. I have at least another season at Gunners depending on whether I will still be happy at the team as is the case now,” added Pilato.
Pilato said he models his play around that of AC Milan’s Brazilian international Kaka. He said his best goal ever was his strike against FC Satmos at Lobatse stadium.
During that match and with that league encounter seemingly headed for a draw, Pilato received the ball in the centre circle from Boitumelo Mbi. He dummied Satmos’s Kgosietsile Jacob, took a few steps towards the Satmos goal, played a quick one-two with Mahube and unleashed a 45-metre screamer that left the Satmos keeper grasping for air. Gunners won that game 2-1. Interestingly, Gunners’ other goal was a beauty from Pilato’s friend Mahube.
Pilato is also Gunners’ regular penalty specialist.