Ben Motshwari knows retaining senior players will help bring success to Orlando Pirates
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JOHANNESBURG - BEN Motshwari was evidently disappointed with how Orlando Pirates finished last season. But that the club has only made four signings, retaining the bulk of the players, has led him to believe that they can build on the positives going into the new season.
In almost all of the off-season transfer windows, Pirates, being among the country’s top three supported sides, were expected to raid the market. But in the latest one they’ve bolstered only three departments.
In the heart of defence they added Kwanda Mngonyama; in midfield they brought in Bandile Shandu and Goodman Mosele; and in attack they added Monnapule Saleng from Free State Stars.
Those retained by the Sea Robbers were responsible for guiding the team to their first silverware, the MTN8 crown, after a six-year trophy drought last season, although they did finish a rather disappointing third in the Premiership.
The season was underwhelming for a star-studded outfit like Pirates. Many were convinced they would go toe-to-toe with Mamelodi Sundowns for the league title. But Motshwari believes that not all is dead and buried going into the new campaign.
“I think we did well, although that was not enough for the club and the squad,” the midfielder said at their pre-season camp base, the Royal Marang Hotel, this week.
“Most of the guys have been retained from last season, and there’s so much experience there.”
He continued: “I think this season it’s important how we start, carry and push ourselves. In terms of our targets as a team we should start now (by winning) the Carling Black Label Cup. And then going forward we should carry ourselves as professionals.”
Pirates will meet arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the ninth edition of the ‘Beer Cup’ at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday afternoon. The starting line-ups for both Soweto giants were selected through supporters’ votes and were released on Wednesday.
Despite the supporters voting for seniors, the two benches will be offered an opportunity to give a run to some of their new signings.
Motshwari believes that the new additions will widen their pool of players and enable them to compete on all fronts next term.
“The new guys who’ve come in have adjusted very well. In terms of Kwanda, (we needed him) because we didn’t have centre-backs as most of the guys were injured. I think they are good signings because they’ll add more depth to the squad,” he said.
“If you check Sundowns, they’ve been competing very well, not only locally but in Africa as well. They have a big pool of players.
“I think it’s going to be a positive for us as well going into the new season having balance and depth in various positions.”
Pirates have also bolstered their technical team with an assistant and goalkeeping coach, Mandla Ncikazi and Sjoerd Woudenberg.