JOHANNESBURG - In Thamsanqa Sangweni, Orlando Pirates have signed a reliable central midfielder who will enhance their attacking potential.
This is the view of former Pirates centre-forward, Phumudzo Manenzhe, who reckons the former Chippa United captain will bring luck at the Sea Robbers camp going into the new season.
Speaking at the Carling Black Label Champion Cup media update in Newtown, Manenzhe stated that Sangweni, who signed a contract with the Sea Robbers up until the 2020 season, has all the qualities expected of anyone who dons the famous black and white jersey.
“I believe the arrival of Thamsanqa Sangweni means the prayers of the Buccaneers fans have been answered because, in the previous season, the fans were complaining about their central midfielders not circulating the ball enough,” Manenzhe said.
“Pirates’ style of play is more reliant on the ball being played through their wingers up front, and to do that, you need to have solid central midfielders who will supply those type of balls to either wing.
“Sangweni brings that long and short passing game,” Manenzhe added. “His diagonal passes are some of the best in the PSL. He’s also good with making those late runs into box, and he gives himself those opportunities to strike the long range shots from outside the box that he’s well known for. And that’s why I believe the fans would be very happy to have a player of his calibre at the club.”
Asked which player Sangweni would be best paired up with to make the Sea Robbers more effective in attack next season, Manenzhe said: “I personally feel that Oupa Manyisa should drop from that No10 role and join Sangweni in the heart of midfield. Depending on which formation the coach decides to play, I believe that this pair can alternate and play well together in central midfield.
"Sangweni has more defensive qualities compared to Oupa, who is more offensive. Both of them are good ball players and that means Pirates will now be able to keep possession much better.
“Pirates always lacked that player who could keep the ball for them in the midfield,” the 33-year-old retired player added. “They’ve found him now in Sangweni. I can’t fault Issa Sarr much because he’s a very committed player and his workrate is incredible, too. But Pirates need a player who can keep the ball and play those diagonal balls to either wing. Sangweni is stronger when it comes to that, if you were to compare the two. I would definitely field Sangweni ahead of Sarr.”
Meanwhile, Manenzhe added that the two seasons during which the Buccaneers participated in continental competitions (the 2013 CAF Champions League and the 2014 Confederation Cup) and reached the final might have contributed to the slump they experienced in the previous season.
“Anybody associated with the (Pirates) brand would have loved to celebrate this 80th anniversary in style,” Manenzhe lamented.
“We were just unfortunate not to have started the past season well. There were some questionable performances from certain players. The chairman said he would release a statement in terms of how he views this past season.
“But having said that,” Maneze added. “There were a lot of aspects which came into play. Things such as were Pirates playing as a team this past season. How was their nutrition? Was the physical trainer giving them too much load in training, or was it less? There were a lot of things which might have contributed to the slump, but until we get that overall final report from the team, we cannot pinpoint where things went wrong this past season.”