Home Sport How Pirates can plunder the league again

How Pirates can plunder the league again

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While the Buccaneers have made some movements in terms of exits and recruitments thus far, sports correspondent Smiso Msomi highlights five problem areas the club should address.

Olisa Ndah of Orlando Pirates. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

ORLANDO Pirates is a name revered throughout the continent. The first South African club to capture the ‘star’ on top of their skull and crossbones badge. Also the first club to attain the tag of Double Treble Winners in the local game.

The next club to attain both these titles in recent years is Mamelodi Sundowns, the current benchmark of the local game that has clubs like Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs scrambling this transfer window in efforts to mount any challenge for their crown next season.

While the Buccaneers have made some movements in terms of exits and recruitments thus far, sports correspondent Smiso Msomi highlights five problem areas the club should address.

Find Ncikazi Assistance

First things first, the Sea Robbers must identify and pin down an individual befitting of the standards set by Pirates over the years to aid a seemingly settled Mandla Ncikazi in the technical team.

The football world continues to evolve and so do the coaching standards and requirements. Pirates could opt for another ‘dual-coaching’ set-up – as proven by Sundowns it is not necessarily how you set up but rather a question of who is involved in the structure.

Although some Pirates fans might not agree, Ncikazi has earned himself at least another season at the Soweto club. Pirates played some of the most enterprising football in the league last campaign but – like many PSL teams – were victims of poor finishing in many of their matches while injuries halted their progress at critical points of the season.

Build foundation around Ndah

The famous quote of “strikers win your goals but defences win you leagues” should be doing the rounds at Mayfair in the pre-season already.

One of the most important elements of a successful football team is the defence. Pirates have found themselves a gem in Nigerian international Olisah Ndah, a feature reminiscent of when Liverpool snapped up Virgil van Dijk in 2018 or of Thiago Silva’s arrival at Chelsea in 2021, and both teams went on to claim Champions League honours.

The arrival of Thapelo Xoki and Nkosinathi Sibisi hands Ncikazi and Co an interesting challenge considering they’re different in terms of playing style. However, identifying a suitable partner to Ndah should be top priority.

Find Mosele a partner in crime

A few of us may have been surprised by the exit of Thabang Monare from the Pirates camp considering he had just been called up to the Bafana Bafana squad. But the truth is that none of the Pirates midfield options have been consistent enough to be considered indispensable.

Twenty-two-year-old Goodman Mosele, in his first season with Pirates, has shone head and shoulders above the rest. With age on his side, the Buccaneers might want to find a partner in crime in the heart of midfield for the Bafana player.

The great Pirates teams of 10 years ago were built on the backs of Andile Jali and Oupa Manyisa, arguably the best midfield duo seen in recent decades. If the club is to make any progress in the upcoming season, they will need to address this particular problem.

Establish decent cover from back to front

The tempo and speed at which teams go at each other now is at an all time high and a team the size of Pirates should be fully prepared for it.

The Buccaneers were without Richard Ofori, Thembinkosi Lorch and Ndah for long periods during the season and the voids they left were bare for anyone to see. While Pirates have one of the biggest squads in the league, they still don’t have suitable replacements for their most important players.

Light a fire in the belly of Lorch

The former Footballer of the Season is undoubtedly the club’s best player and it is no coincidence that whenever he is on song, the club gets a lift. The Buccaneers camp will need to prioritise keeping the man nicknamed “Shake My Soul” fit for as long as they need him.

He always seems to get a bump in his step when he is surrounded by the best players. Having the likes of Vincent Pule and Deon Hotto up and running alongside him always seems to light a fire in his belly.

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