Could Bafana Bafana and Wits centreback Thulani Hlatshwayo become the next big name to join Orlando Pirates? Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Bafana Bafana and Bidvest Wits captain Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo is the missing puzzle in the Bucanneers defensive set-up. This is according to their former skipper, Siyabonga "Nsimbi" Sangweni.

The murmurs are rife that Pirates are pushing hard to secure the services of the incumbent Bafana skipper. Pirates have been busy in this transfer window.  They have bolstered their squad with players like Meshack Maphangule, Abel Mabaso, Brilliant Khuzwayo, Vincent Pule, Linda "Figo" Mntambo, Paseka Mako, Asavela Mbekile, Kudakwashe Mahachi and Ben Motshwari.

Despite this shopping spree, Sangweni believes that Hlatshwayo is the missing piece in the central defence for Pirates and his signing will complete the Bucs squad.  Sangweni experienced a successful spell during his tenure with Pirates as he propelled them to a double treble in 2010/11 with his diligence at the heart of defence. 

He interacted with the media during his football tournament in his village in Dondotha at Empangeni. 

"We need to beef up our defence. We need someone who will say, I will die for this team at the back. Hlatshwayo will be a perfect signing for Pirates. They need someone who is stubborn at the back. You can't be soft if you are playing in that position. You don't have to listen what other people are saying. If you are playing that position you need to stay focused," soft spoken Sangweni elaborated. 

Pirates have struggled to build a solid pair at the heart of defence since the departure of the likes of Rooi Mahamutsa, Lucky Lekgwathi and Sangweni. The club have tried pairing the likes of Ayanda Gcaba, Gladwin Shitolo, Marshall Munetsi and Justice Chabalala.

Khuzwayo is expected to command the regular starting berth between the sticks for Pirates ahead of the trio Wayne Sandilands, Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane. He joined the Sea Robbers from their arch-rivals, Kaizer Chiefs. 

Hlatshwayo is still contracted to Wits but the talks between the two clubs are still on-going. He has been one of the most consistent defenders in the local scenes. In 2016/17, Hlatshwayo walked away with the Defender of the Season gong at the Premier Soccer League Awards ceremony. 

"Pirates need a stop nonsense type of the defender and Hlatshwayo can do that job. You must be prepared to fight for the jersey. At Pirates you have to think about the presence because you are as good as your last game," Sangweni added. 

Pirates showed a major refinement last season as they finished as the Absa Premiership runners up but they are still looking to end their four year barren run. Their last piece of silverware came back in 2014 when Sangweni was still playing. 

"We are expecting a lot from Pirates in the upcoming season. It is time for them to write they own history. Last season they showed glimpses of what they can offer. They must push more to attain silverware. Pirates can't be playing for the 2nd place all the time," Sangweni said. 

Nsimbi as he is affectionately known to his admirers also offered some sort of advice to his younger brother, Thamsanqa Sangweni who is also plying his trade with the Bucanneers. 

The hard-tackling midfielder has struggled for game time since joining Pirates from Chippa United. 

"I had a lengthy chat with my younger brother, Thami. I always tell him that Pirates is a big team. If you are given the chance, grab it with both hands. You must make use of every opportunity that comes your way. Your performance will speak for you at Pirates. It is also important not to pay attention to critics. You must always tell yourself that if I'm give an opportunity, I will always deliver. Whatever comes after that must be secondary," Sangweni explained as he offered advice to his younger brother. 

It is going to be even more tougher for Thamsanqa as Pirates added players like Mabaso and Mbekile who are also operating as central midfielders. 

" Competition is everywhere. He knows what he needs to do. They mustn't compare him to myself and he shouldn't succumb to that pressure because he will find himself in a spot of bother. He must be Thami. In football we will never be the same. He is Thami, I'm Siya and Lekgwathi is Lekgwathi. 

IOL Sport

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