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Ex-Orlando Pirates coach Palacios believes ‘overseas teams haven’t been giving Foster a fair chance’

The 20-year-old has struggled to play regular football ever since he arrived in Europe as a promising teenager

Former Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios believes forward Lyle Foster has not realised his full potential in Europe because he has not been afforded a “fair chance” to play.

After showing so much promise at Orlando Pirates, Forster joined Ligue 1 club Monaco in January 2019 but was immediately sent to their reserve side. 

After a bright start the following season and making two appearances at the start of the Ligue 1 campaign, Foster was then loaned out to Belgian second division side Cercle Brugge where he enjoyed some game time by playing 18 league games. 

Monaco could not take him back at the end of his loan spell but sold him to Primeira Liga side Vitoria Guimaraes. 

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After again struggling for regular football in Portugal where he made just five appearances for Vitoria Guimaraes, Palacios is not yet ruling out the attacker who is currently with the South Africa Under-23 squad for the Tokyo Olympics. 

“I coached this boy for 12 years… I know his potential. When you’re not playing regularly you’re bound to struggle like this. My point is that teams overseas haven’t been giving him a fair chance,’’ Palacios told Sowetan Live. 

“Come the Olympics the boy will silence his critics. He knows this is the big stage where he must redeem himself. The only time he plays regularly is when he’s back with the junior national team and I am sure again he’ll excel.” 

Another former coach of Foster at Pirates’ youth ranks Mandla Qhogi does not understand why the 20-year-old has struggled to make a name for himself in Europe. 

This is after the player made his Premier Soccer League debut for Pirates at 17 and went on to prominently feature in South Africa’s junior national teams and even broke into the Bafana Bafana fold.

“I am not sure why he’s struggling this much in Europe because when he was with us, even with the first team, he showed a lot of potential and you could see that he has got that element of going places,’’ said Qhogi.  

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“It might be an issue of adaptation but again you can’t be still trying to adapt after two years… he should have been adapted a long time ago. Nevertheless, I still believe he’ll reach his full potential because he’s still young.’’

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