Meyiwa faces the chop

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iol spt feb10 Senzo Meyiwa

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Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa could warm the bench for their visit to Free State Stars after some indifferent performances. Photo: Manus van Dyk

Senzo Meyiwa’s position as first-choice goalkeeper at Orlando Pirates could be reviewed after interim coach Eric Tinkler expressed discontent at the player’s performance in Orlando on Saturday.

Just last year Meyiwa was hailed for his heroics in goal during the Buccaneers’ fairy-tale CAF Champions League campaign, but on Saturday in the 1-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns, the home fans hurled insults at the goalkeeper and were happy to see him walk off the pitch in the second half following another unconvincing display.

After Hlompho Kekana’s spectacular long-range solitary goal left Meyiwa on the ground with what seemed to be cramps, Tinkler brought on Ghanaian international shot-stopper Fatau Dauda for his first official match since joining the Buccaneers this season.

“Obviously I am not happy with what happened today, that’s why I made the sub with Dauda coming in,” said Tinkler, who vowed that the club would support Meyiwa.

“I think it’s a bit harsh if you look at what this boy (Meyiwa) has done for the club during the Champions League. I still think he is one of the best goalkeepers in the country. I think he is going through a bit of a difficult time now, but we will support him as much as we can,” he added.

Meyiwa could warm the bench in Wednesday’s visit to Free State Stars after Tinkler failed to say whether or not the player would start the match at Charles Mopeli Stadium.

“I am sure we will make decisions on how we handle the situation with Senzo, but it will be an internal matter. It won’t be spread out to the media. We still believe in Senzo Meyiwa and I think the press should also support him as much as possible. He is going through a rough patch. We will assess the situation over the next couple of days so we will see what we do when we go to Free State Stars,”

Meyiwa, suspect in his handling of the ball in all of Pirates’ matches this year, would dread returning to the bench, which he was well acquainted with for about four seasons when the departed Moeneeb Josephs was still with the club.

However, Dauda, signed this season from Ashanti Gold after Josephs did not have his contract renewed, will be hoping he can start against Stars on Wednesday to enhance his chances of keeping his No1 jersey at the World Cup which starts on June 12.

Dauda may have been aware of Stephen Adams’ performances for Ghana during the African Nations Championship (CHAN) and may feel his spot as the No1 may be under serious threat.

The Black Stars have never been afraid to play some of the players in their local league at big international tournaments, so Dauda will know the importance of getting much more game time before the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Tinkler said his boys are psyched up for their four consecutive games away from home which will test their title credentials. After their visit to Stars at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday, the Buccaneers will travel to Polokwane to face Polokwane City, then it’s Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium. They’ll meet Sundowns at Loftus before month end.

“The spirit I saw prior to the game (against Sundowns) and the spirit I saw after the game is still very high. I am very proud of what the boys have achieved in the last two games. I have seen them move forward in leaps and bounds.”

Tinkler was not too pleased with the performance against Sundowns which left them on 23 points after 13 matches and would want improvements if they are to pick up points away from home.

“I am not entirely happy with the performance, but I was pleased with the work rate of the players and the determination and spirit they showed. We made mistakes against a good team. And when you make mistakes against a good team, you will get punished.”– The Star


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