Why great Moripe is all smiles

WHILE almost every Mamelodi Sundowns supporter was close to tears after their side's 2-1 defeat by Orlando Pirates at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, one of their die-hards was all smiles after the encounter.

The fan in question, however, was not smiling because his beloved Downs were downed by the Buccaneers. He grins every time he attends matches at this famous Atteridgeville venue that bears his name. The fan is none other than legend Lucas "Masterpiece" Moripe.

"Honestly, I shouldn't be smiling now but I still can't hide my excitement to be at this stadium," said a smartly dressed Moripe.

"I always feel happy and special when I mingle with the fans here. Everybody treats me like a king. I feel honoured every time the fans come to me and say 'hey, this is Lucas Masterpiece Moripe and this is his stadium'.

"One fan once said to his son, 'do you know who this guy is, he is a football great and I want you to be just like him when you grow up. He is an inspiration'. I was quite humbled by that guy's words," he told Sowetan.

Moripe, who played for Pretoria Callies and Orlando Pirates, and had a stint in Hong Kong, is also grateful to the Sundowns management for always making him feel special during the matches.

"They reserve me a seat in the VIP area and there is also a car that ferries me to and from the stadium for every match. They do everything for me and that makes me very happy. Interacting with players also makes me happy and strong because they remind me of my heyday," said Moripe, who uses crutches because of a knee problem.

He urged the players not to despair after Pirates brought their perfect start to the season to a halt.

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