Tshegofatso Mabasa in action for Orlando Pirates. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena heaped praise on Tshegofatso Mabasa after he netted a brace against Chippa United to end the Buccaneers’ six-match winless run.

The Pirates striker was influential in the win over the Chilli Boys, he bullied defenders with his strength and ability to turn and shoot in the box. One of his goals came like that, with him shielding the ball well before firing a snapshot after his sharp turn.

He and Augustine Mulenga formed a good combination with Mabasa opening space for the Zambian striker.

The departure of Thamsanqa Gabuza could see Mabasa being entrusted with the role of being the club’s focal point in their attack.

Frederic Nsabiyumva of Chippa United tackles Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match. Photo:Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

“He was outstanding,” Mokwena said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done but there are things that the media and the supporters don’t see about him, he is a great human being. He is extremely intelligent.

He understands tactics and the game but at the same time he is so humble and coachable. He listens to everything that you ask of him. What more do you say as a coach when you’ve got honest, hardworking players?”

Pirates will look to build on their win against Chippa by getting another positive result against Bidvest Wits at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. The Clever Boys will be a tougher challenge to Pirates than the struggling Chilli Boys.

Wits have been one of the strongest teams this season. Mabasa’s good form and Pirates’ confidence will give Mokwena hope that they can register a second successive win after a slow start to his managerial career after being thrown in the deep end following Micho Sredojevic’s abrupt resignation.

“The two goals are the reward that he gets,” Mokwena said. “You get rewarded when you are a striker who isn’t selfish, a striker who puts in a shift, creates space and defends for the team, eventually when the ball is in the box you are rewarded. He knows that.

He comes into a team where he knows how important (Justin) Shonga, (Gabadinho) Mhango and (Zakhele) Lepasa are. His (job) is to compete for the role and everybody else has to make sure that they work for their position.”

Siphesihle Ndlovu of Orlando Pirates tackled by Boikanyo Komane of Chippa United. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Even though Pirates finally won under Mokwena, there were still some concerning moments. They struggled to deal with Chippa on the counter and their confidence is still shaky as they showed signs of desperation when things didn’t go their way.

“For a club like Orlando Pirates, our performance against Chippa wasn’t enough,” Mokwena said. “The performance can be better. The results can be better. But we take three points and we move.

Credit to the players, they were exceptional. They did what they have been doing.”

Bonginkosi Ndadane

 

The Star

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