Ndah ready to deliver for Pirates at all times

OLISA Ndah is more focused on elevating Orlando Pirates than getting a national call-up as he prepares for the clash against Hungry Lions. | BackpagePix

OLISA Ndah is more focused on elevating Orlando Pirates than getting a national call-up as he prepares for the clash against Hungry Lions. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 16, 2024


DEFENDER Olisa Ndah is enjoying his football again at Orlando Pirates and hopes he can deliver for the team, week in and week out.

Ndah arrived at Pirates with a lot of expectations three seasons ago after winning the league with his native Nigerian outfit, Akwa United, the season before.

He looked to hit the ground running with the Sea Robbers, helping the side to reach the CAF Confederation Cup final in his first season.

However, injuries, suspension, a change of coaches and blunders stalled his progress at Pirates as he was in and out of the team last season.

But enter the ongoing season. Ndah has already played 18 games across all competitions, proving to be a key figure in Jose Riveiro’s plans.

Ndah’s recent performances have many asking whether he’s ready for a return to the Super Eagles, especially after their Afcon campaign, where they finished second.

This question also comes after one of Ndah’s countrymen, Stanley Nwabali, who’s also plying his trade in the PSL top-flight, was one of the players that led their title chase in Ivory Coast.

Ndah was impressed with Nwabali’s and Bafana’s exploits at the Afcon, but says his main focus is on being at his best for Pirates.

“I think he did a wonderful job. He had a great tournament. But I was proud of South Africa, they showed the league’s quality,” Ndah said.

“But right now, I am just focused on what I can achieve with Pirates – and not on the Super Eagles. I am trying to be at my best and deliver for my club.”

Ndah must be at his best this evening (6pm) when Pirates host second tier division side Hungry Lions in the Nedbank Cup last-16 at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Ndah is expected to partner Tapelo Xoki in the heartbeat of Pirates’ defence. A combination that has since worked for Riveiro after a poor start.

“It took a while to understand him because initially I played more with (Nkosinathi) Sibisi. It took communication and we are more like a family,” Ndah explained.

But while Ndah and Xoki have been the preferred partnership for Riveiro at the back, the Spaniard has given chances to most of his defenders.

Sibisi has also started matches this season, while the right back position is set to be played by Thabiso Monyane instead of Thabiso Lebitso today.

Lebitso had a dream derby debut last week, starting the match before repaying the faith that Riveiro showed in him with a second-half screamer.

However, he unfortunately received his fourth booking of the season in that match, resulting in him being ruled out of today’s encounter due to a suspension.

However, Monyane should be able to fill the void that Lebitso would have left, given he’ll be in the company of players such as Ndah who’ll help each other out.

“We support each other a lot as defenders. We have so much love for each other, and we always push each other whether we are playing or not,” Ndah said.

“We carry each other along. So that really helps us a lot. And when someone is injured, it’s easier for the other person to step in. We know he’s ready.”