Orlando Pirates Football Club is regarded as the first successful team to come out of the Southern African Region before Mamelodi Sundowns success and equaling the record recently. The team has won the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup in 1995. Since then there is no other team that has emulated Orlando Pirates’ success in the Southern African Region. The team has been struggling for a while in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The team last won the official trophy when they won the double treble in 2012 – 2013. Let us look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current Orlando Pirates team.
Orlando Pirates’ strengths are their left back, midfielders, and strikers. The left back position has been made permanent by the one and only Thabo Matlaba. Matlaba has been very influential in the buildups of all Orlando Pirates attacks coming from the left hand side of play. Although he is right footed, he managed to implement strategies to cut the field of play whenever he is in possession. He has also scored vital goals for the team locally and in the CAF competitions where Pirates managed to reach the finals of the CAF Champions League and the Confederations Cup in 2013 – 2014.
In midfield, Pirates has players who can mesmerize any team in the world. The likes of Mpho Makola, Thabo Rakgale, Luvuyo Memela, Issa Sar, Oupa Manyisa, and Thabo Qalinge. The return of Oupa Manyisa will definitely boost the Pirates midfield.
In the striking force, Pirates has Tendai Ndoro and Thamsanqa Gabuza. These 2 strikers can score goals any time anywhere. They have proved to be lethal in front of goals. Gabuza has also score a lot of goals for the national team.
Pirates’ weaknesses are their goalkeeper, defenders, central midfielders and the coach. Brighton Mhlongo has not cemented the goalkeeper position as yet. He has been caught off position a lot of times, especially during the set pieces and corner kicks. He lacks confiedence and if well trained and managed he can become one of the best goalkeepers in the country.
The defenders of Pirates are not that consistent especially in the right back position and central defense. Happy Jele is not doing well in the right back position. He has been exposed a lot of times by quick youngsters he has faced. Even Ntsikelelo Nyauza has struggled in that position. In central defense, Pirates has used Edwin Gyimah who has tried, but he is not that perfect in the position. His tackles are not timed and most of the time he does not check where and when to tackle opposition players.
In central midfield, Issa Sar has been struggling for a long time. He is still yet to prove himself in the position. He loses possession easily and most of the time he plays too deep just after the central defender. He is supposed to be the player who makes the team play, but he is the one who makes the team lose possession all the time. The current reports regarding the release of Lehlohonolo Masalesa will be a big mistake for Pirates to make.
Another point, the release of Sifiso Myeni is questionable as he has been the live wire in the Pirates midfield. He has been playing more than very well for Pirates and he was at the pick of his career.
The coach Muhsin Ertugral is not for a team of Pirates’ caliber. He is not a motivator but a destroyer. He has destroyed careers of a lot of players in the country.
Solution to their weaknesses
Pirates has signed a lot of players including Jackson Mabokgwane, Abubaker Mobara, Riyaad Norodien, Thabiso Kutumela, Ayanda Nkosi, Bernard Morrison, and a few others. These players will be able to add the balance needed in the team only if Muhsin Ertugral can be able to use them in their natural positions.
Mabokgwane will definitely cement the goalkeeping position if given a chance. He has enough experience as he has represented the national team in many occasions. He is full of confiedence and very active.
Pirates should recall Sifiso Myeni and Lehlohonolo Masalesa back to the first team. These players are still vital for Pirates’ new campaign in the PSL.
In the coaching department, Pirates should plan to get another coach as Muhsin Ertugral will fail to be a Pirates coach. The man is known to be short tempered and his gestures are not encouraging at all. He is not good enough to be a Pirates coach. Pirates’ best option was to stick with Eric Tinkler as their head coach for another season or two.