Abbubaker Mobara celebrates after scoring in the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Golden Arrows. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Independent Media soccer writer Njabulo Ngidi has looked at Orlando Pirates and how they could fare in the Premiership this season.

Key Player: Abbubaker Mobara

The club’s only shining light in a pretty dark season that saw them being hit for six by both SuperSport and Sundowns, before the former humiliated them in the Nedbank Cup final. The utility player adapted and shone in every position he was played - from rightback to centreback and in central midfield. 

Coach: Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic

The Serbian coach is back to settle his unfinished business after lasting just seven months in his first spell in 2006. Unlike the meek coach who left the Buccaneers 10 years ago, Sredojevic returns after winning four league titles and taking Uganda to their first Africa Cup of Nations appearance in almost four decades. He has a mammoth task ahead of him.

Strengths

Everyone associated with the Buccaneers would love for them to make up for their disastrous campaign last season. But the players gave the Ghost nothing to celebrate. That feeling of disappointment is Pirates’ biggest strength as it will drive them to make up for the terrible previous campaign.

Weaknesses

Pirates need more than just a change of coach, and offloading a few players to bring back the glory days could do the trick. The club needs to improve their players’ mental strength. There is also a leadership vacuum at the club they’ve struggled to fill since the departure of Lucky Lekgwathi and Siyabonga Sangweni.

Good season

Winning a trophy and qualifying for continental football would make this a good season, especially with a technical team, Milutin Sredojevic and Rhulani Mokwena, who have experience of the continental game.

Bad season

Anything less than winning a trophy and finishing in the top eight would make it a bad season. The problem is getting them to pull in the same direction as a unit.

PSL Record

Best: Champions in 2001, 2003, 2011 and 2012

Worst: 11th in 2017

Squad

Goalkeepers: Siyabonga Mpontshane, Wayne Sandilands and Jackson Mabokgwane. Defenders: Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Thabo Matlaba, Happy Jele, Ayanda Gcaba, Marc van Heerden, Patrick Phungwayo and Abbubaker Mobara. Midfielders: Riyaad Norodien, Gladwin Shitolo, Thembinkosi Lorch, Musa Nyatama, Thabo Qalinge, Thabo Rakhale, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Yusuf Maart, Luvuyo Memela, Mpho Makola, Issa Sarr and Marshall Munetsi. Strikers: Bernard Morrison, Tendai Ndoro, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Ayanda Nkosi and Thabiso Kutumela

The Star

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