OPINION: Tricky times as Buccaneers sail towards transfer market
Pirates are one of the biggest football institutions in the country. Their aspiration to return to the pinnacle of South African football and African dominance remains top of their priority list. But the club will know that new additions to the existing group of players is what makes a dream team, that could potentially compete with any team that they may cross paths with - in domestic and continental football.
Quality is expensive though. That is why the club might have to break the bank to compete with the best in the market, something that won’t be easy considering the impact the novel coronavirus has had on the economy.
Coach Josef Zinnbauer is also bound to have his own recommendations about what he may need, considering this will be his first pre-season with the club after joining the Sea Robbers’ camp late last year following the resignation of Micho Sredojevic and underwhelming stint under interim coach Rhulani Mokwena.
Pirates’ defensive loopholes is an area that the 50-year-old coach needs to pay attention to, with his men having kept only four clean sheets during his 11-match reign at the helm.
While there’ll be a need of restructuring defensively during the next transfer window, it not known what will happen to personnel whose contracts will be coming to an end this month.
Most of these players were part of the set-up when the team finished as runners-up to Mamelodi Sundowns in the last two seasons?
Captain Happy Jele, who’s spent 14 years at the club, and veteran goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, 36, will see their respective terms expire on June 30 but to date, the Sea Robbers have been mum on possible extensions.
Taking to the club’s official Twitter account, Pirates did make a special tribute to ‘Magents’ for the milestone he’s achieved with the club, showing visuals dating back to when he started wearing the black and white of the club until the current season.
Sandilands, a two-time domestic champion and an African king with Sundowns, has tasted the good and the bad that comes with the pressure of being at Pirates since joining the club three seasons ago.
Remember how he dusted himself off to reclaim the number one jersey and wormed his way back into the hearts of ‘The Ghost’, teammates and coaches after resurrecting his career with the reserves following a blunder in the opening game last season against Highlands Park?
With Pirates likely to extend the duo’s deals for another term they’ll still be forced to make some serious additions defensively for the team to run like a well-oiled machine.
With the season having come to a grinding halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, Zinnbauer will be one of the coaches who will cross his fingers for the league to finish, especially with the last six matches likely to set a tone for the direction the club will take next season.
Zinnbauer would probably be pleased with his attacking contingent - especially with how striker Gabadinho Mhango has been flourishing in front of goals with 14 league strikes, 10 coming under his brief stint.
Whether the club releases players or not, this would probably be the time to buy what they mostly need. After all, the six midfielders that the club bought in the last two transfer windows could come in handy.
Zinnbauer, who would have probably done his homework before taking over the reins from Mokwena, will also know that it’s sometimes suicidal to fix something that is not broken.