CAPE TOWN – After sitting out Orlando Pirates’ pre-season tour to Zambia due to an ankle injury, forward Thabiso Kutumela has expressed his delight at being back in training and available for the Buccaneers.
As part of their preparations for the hunt for a first Premiership title since the 2011/12 season, Pirates embarked on a pre-season camp in Nelspruit, followed by a tour of Zambia.
Assistant-coach Rhulani Mokwena described the trip as ‘positive.’
“So far so good,” commented Mokwena. “I think as a Technical Team we can be content, not just with the enthusiasm and the desire to learn that the players are showing, but their coachability and ability to transfer it from a theoretical perspective into practicality.”
Pirates will start the new season sans assistant-coach Benson Mhlongo who has left to take up the head coaching role at newly promoted National First Division outfit, TS Sporting.
Kutumela’s return could not have come at a more opportune time with the season set to kick off as originally scheduled.
Following a protracted litigation period, the Ajax Cape Town/Tendai Ndoro saga has finally come to an end and the 2018-19 PSL season will kick off as scheduled this weekend.
However, Kutumela will, in all likelihood, miss the opening match against Highlands Park – 8.15pm at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday - in order to get more match fitness under his proverbial belt.
“I am happy to be back training again,” the player told club website Orlandopiratesfc.com.
“It has been a long time since I last trained with the guys, it was such a relief to be running with my boots on. The toughest part however in my recovery has always been the mental side of things but I am thankful to the Medical Team as well as the support that I have been getting from my family, the coaches and my teammates. ”
Pirates’ second outing of the season will be against Chippa United, set for August 8 at 7.30pm at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
When he eventually gets to run out for the Bucs, Thabiso Kutumela and his fellow sea-robbers will do so in their brand-new strip, which was launched earlier this month.