Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena is confident his team can turn their season around after the tough start. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Following yet another disappointment outing at home, Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena made a sober assessment of their shortcomings but he’s confident it is just a matter of time before they change their fortunes.

On Saturday, the Sea Robbers played to a 3-3 draw with Cape Town City, adding to what’s already been a tough season for club following the abrupt resignation of coach Micho Sredojevic.

In seven Premiership matches this season, Pirates have won two, drawn four and lost one.

That record, however, is disappointing for the club, considering how they were tipped for the championship after being bridesmaids to Mamelodi Sundowns in the last two seasons.

Mokwena, who’s worked at Sundowns as Pitso Mosimane's deputy, remains adamant that while they’ve hit the troubled waters, he is banking on their passion to see them through.

“Pressure, no. I think there’s passion more that anything. With regards to the supporters’ demands, there’s emotional attachment from them but I think that they see that we are trying our best,” Mokwena said. “Unfortunately, when it’s your turn then it’s your turn, we just have to see ourselves through these trying times. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves but we just have to be strong.”

Pirates may have clicked as a team this season yet, but Mokwena will take positives with some of his troops having aced their roles in the last few matches.

Tshegofatso Mabasa is having a blast with the Buccaneers so far, scoring four goals in the last three matches.

While that’s been impressive from former Bloemfontein Celtic’s man, Pirates’ biggest issue has been their leaky defence.

In three matches, Joris Delle has disappointingly conceded seven goals, a dismal state of affairs for a player that’s had stints in Netherlands and Belgium.

Mokwena though came to the goalkeeper’s defence, citing that it takes a team effort to be solid defence.

“Football is not about an individual, but it’s about an organisation,” he said.

“He’s doing his best and he’s adapting to the life in South Africa. We’ve also got to do better as a technical team so that he adapts quicker. You’ll never hear me throw a player under the bus. We are honest with each other when we do our analysis.”

Mokwena though also lauded how youngster Thabiso Monyane has also fitted into the team.

The 19-year-old has had a good calendar year, starting from representing Amajita during the Under-20 World Cup.

“Thabiso Monyane is a lion, he’s simply unbelievable,” Mokwena said.

“To play with the way that’s been playing, I think it’s remarkable. I think the boy is going to be top player. Last week, he came on and he got an assist. I get goosebumps when I talk about him. I get excited about the future of this country, and a lot of credit should go the to the youth coaches of Orlando Pirates for identifying him.”

@MihlaliBaleka 


The Star

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