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Pirates need to find a marksman

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Orlando Pirates’ lack of fluency in front of goal has been their big problem area this season. Maritzburg United’s Thabiso Kutumela could be that player to help the Buccaneers.

The 27-year-old Thabiso Kutumela of Maritzburg United previously played for Pirates and lacked consistency, although he appears to have matured with age. Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN – Orlando Pirates’ lack of fluency in front of goal has been their big problem area this season and it once again haunted them in their 4-0 CAF Confederation Cup elimination and quarter-final second leg defeat to Raja Casablanca at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco on Sunday afternoon.

Although Pirates were humiliated, the stats indicated that they got the basics right.

What let them down heavily was their lack of composure in their build-up play, on-field communication and yet again poor finishing.

Pirates had 51% possession in the game, something that is not easily achievable especially when playing away from home. They also managed 16 shots at goal, although rather worryingly, only managed three shots on target.

What Pirates lack is a prolific scorer upfront who is capable of scoring more than 15 goals per season. They have plenty of work cut out for them during the off-season and one player who could benefit them is Maritzburg United’s Thabiso Kutumela.

The 27-year-old previously played for Pirates and lacked consistency, although he appears to have matured with age.

The Mokopane-born player has almost single-handedly navigated Maritzburg United away from the relegation zone after they looked dead and buried earlier this season, having scored an impressive 12 goals from 26 league games so far, with the bulk of those coming since the turn of the year.

Kutumela’s form was rewarded by new Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos as he was called up to the national team squad, which will square off against Uganda in a friendly international next month.

It also remains to be seen whether Josef Zinnbauer will remain the man in the dugout for Pirates next season. The German started the season well by leading his charges to the MTN 8, although they have struggled for consistency since.

Plenty of Sea Robbers fans do feel that a change of coach is now needed, as the German failed to get the most out of his players this season.

However, to some extent, it must also be noted that Zinnbauer has been unlucky with continuous injuries to key players this season.

For now, he will need to prioritise a good finish to the season as his side sit three points behind Golden Arrows and seven points behind second-place AmaZulu.

A second-place finish could earn Pirates the right to play in the Champions League, while a third-place finish will gain them entry into the CAF Confederation Cup.

@EshlinV