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Makhanya believes Memela has been key for Pirates

Luvuyo Memela in action against Bidvest Wits

Luvuyo Memela has played a crucial role in Orlando Pirates' revival this season, according to former Bucs midfielder Joseph Makhanya.

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Memela found it difficult to break into Rhulani Mokwena's starting lineup early in the season, as the Soweto giants hovered around mid-table, but has established himself as an important player under new head coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Under the guidance of the German tactician, Pirates have climbed from seventh to second in the Absa Premiership standings, winning their last five league outings.

Top goalscorer in the league so far this season Gabadinho Mhango has received much of the praise for the impressive recovery, but Makhanya reckons Memela has been instrumental.

"Memela is a brilliant player and he has proven that. He has really been excellent for the team and must get credit also," Makhanya said, as quoted by Sowetan Live.

"Under Rulani he wasn't playing and I don't know why. Sometimes coaches have different opinions of their players. I was once a victim of such when a coach comes and doesn't play you.

"I wonder why he was not being used, but at the end of the day the coach is the one who decides. I am happy for him that he is playing. He did well to remain focused and not to give up. Now he has got his chance and making use of it."