Orlando Pirates’ Thabiso Monyane aims to ‘showcase talent’ in Soweto Derby

Published Oct 26, 2022


Johannesburg - An emotional Thabiso Monyane nearly had a breakdown at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice at the Wanderers in Johannesburg yesterday when he reflected on his journey at Orlando Pirates.

Monyane is a Pirates development product, having been promoted to the senior team four years ago by coaching duo Milutin Sredojevic and Rhulani Mokwena.

He impressed so much in his first season that Mokwena deemed him as the best right-back in the PSL, having also played for South Africa at the Under-20 World Cup. But the changes in the coaching department over the last three seasons saw the then-19-yearold demoted not only to the bench, but the stands.

His situation became so bad last season that he didn’t play a single game with the seniors, with newbie Bandile Shandu making the position his own.

But even before Shandu’s arrival, Monyane had lost his spot in the team, with then-coach Josef Zinnbauer preferring to convert midfielders into rightbacks.

Enter Jose Riveiro. Everyone started on a clean slate, and that saw Monyane starting the first game of the season and racking up 10 appearances and two assists so far.

Monyane, now 22, was speaking at Pirates’ official announcement of their partnership with hotel group Marriott Bonvoy yesterday, and reflected on his journey with a voice filled with hurt.

“It’s not a surprise that I’ve been playing well. As you know last season, I didn’t even play a single minute. And that was a mental challenge,” he said.

“I had to overcome that. When you are playing for Pirates, you’ve got to be mentally fit. It’s about the belief. The coach came in, and he believed in me.

“Coach Jose believed in me from the get-go, including pre-season. He told me that I should go out there and enjoy myself – showcase my talent,” he said.

Monyane and Shandu are tight and back each other whenever one of them is given a chance to play, which has brought them closer.