DURBAN – Orlando Pirates are unlikely to be busy in the January transfer window. The Buccaneers went on a shopping spree at the start of the season buying nine new players.
They strengthened their squad with the likes of Paseka Mako, Ben Motshwari, Linda Mntambo, Meshack Maphangule, Brilliant Khuzwayo, Asavela Mbekile, Abel Mabaso and Kudakwashe Mahachi.
They also added Caio Marcelo to their squad in the middle of the season.
A few months later Pirates secured the services of Alfred Ndengane but he is not eligible to play until January. He joined Pirates from Bloemfontein Celtic.
Pirates chairman, Irvin Khoza, is banking on Khuzwayo and Ndengane to strength his team.
“We signed Ndengane and he hasn’t played. He will get his chance and see what he can offer. Khuzwayo will be also ready. We need him in that position (goalkeeper). It will be good to have those players,” Khoza replied when he was asked about the possibility of new signings during the January transfer window.
Khuzwayo hasn’t featured for Pirates due to injury and has just returned to training from a long lay off. The Buccaneers have been utilising Siyabonga Mpontshane as their number one goal-minder in PSL matches and Jackson Mabokgwane in the Caf Champions League.
Neither of them has really cemented their place as first-choice keeper. The pair have been found wanting on several occasions.
Khuzwayo is expected to command the regular starting berth once he fully recovers.
Ndengane is set to compete with Happy Jele, Marshall Munetsi, Marcelo and Gladwin Shitolo at the heart of defence for the Buccaneers. Pirates are competing on three fronts and their squad depth will be tested. They are second on the league standings via goal difference from log leaders Wits with 27 points after 15 matches.
Pirates will be hoping to remain among the title contenders for as long as they can and potentially lift the league championship at the end of the season.
They haven’t won a trophy for four years. The Sea Robbers will be competing in the Nedbank Cup where they will face Black Leopards away in the last 32 of the competition next year.
Pirates are also still involved in the Caf Champions League, but they need to beat Namibian outfit African Stars away in the second leg of their tie on Saturday to book a place in the group stage of the competition.@Minenhlecr7