JOHANNESBURG - Sometimes going out on loan could quite possibly trigger a career downward spiral – and young Fagrie Lakay had reasons to believe it could happen to him.
After joining SuperSport United from Santos three years ago, the 21-year-old forward found it difficult to command a regular place until he was finally loaned to Ajax Cape Town in the second half of last season.
Lakay says being one of the first names on the teamsheet for a team which eventually got relegated toughened him up and he partly credits the Urban Warriors for his current form.
It is now possible he could start for SuperSport in tonight’s MTN8 final against Cape Town City at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“I took the loan spell in a positive way,” Lakay said this week.
“I took it as something that will make me a better player, getting game time because I wasn’t getting that here.
“It was definitely to prepare me coming back.
“For me it was a good experience, working with coach Muhsin Ertugral and also playing for survival. Nobody wanted the club to be relegated. We were all fighting hard and that toughens you up, I mean I was on loan and everything, but I was part of the team.
“It was unfortunate that Ajax got relegated.”
It’s true that Lakay has returned ready to make an impact and has been able to break into the starting line-up ahead of some stiff competition, especially the experienced Thuso Phala.
“I have worked with coach Kaitano (Tembo) before and I am grateful for the opportunity he is now giving me.
“The only way I feel I can repay him is by just working hard. We sat down when I came back and he said he was impressed with how I played while at Ajax and he wants me to improve and do more here,” said Lakay.
SuperSport know first hand how good City can be – their opening Absa Premiership match this season was a 2-0 defeat away to coach Benni McCarthy’s men.
Lakay, being a Cape Town boy who spent the first six months of 2018 in the Mother City, also got to witness how that club is growing.
“I think I can say they are now the main club in Cape Town,” he said.
“They have good support, good players and the way they run the club is very professional. I expect a tough battle.
“They are good going forward, with a lot of players that can make something happen for them. Even in defence they are strong.”