Thamsanqa Gabuza of Orlando Pirates celebrates with his coach 'Micho' after scoring against Chippa United in their opening PSL match. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Maybe “Micho” has the formula.

Although it is way too early to conclude that Orlando Pirates have finally replaced last season’s leaky defence, a clean sheet last night in their opening Absa Premiership match was certainly a welcomed start.

Thamsanqa Gabuza scored the only goal, heading in Innocent Maela’s cross.

Recently appointed coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic handed out four debuts in what many will view as a spanking new Buccaneers side.

At the back goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands and leftback Innocent Maela were the fresh faces, accompanied by Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Gladwin Shitolo, two squad players who spent much of the past campaign kicking their heels in the stands.

Seems the old guard, if you want to describe them that way, are out in the cold. Happy Jele, Ayanda Gcaba and even Patrick Phungwayo didn’t even have a place on the bench.

To his credit, seemingly unaware that he was on his way out, recently-departed coach Kjell Jonevret had made it clear that there would be wholesale changes and goalkeeper Sandilands’ arrival from Sundowns as a free agent had at least guaranteed that a change between the sticks, at the very least, was imminent.

Sandilands was hardly tested by Chippa last night, but in two instances where he was called upon, the one-time Bafana goal-minder showed experience, confidence and authority in his own box. 

Orlando Pirates (1) 1

Gabuza 37

Chippa United 0

Weekend Argus

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