Irvin Khoza: Orlando Pirates can still win the PSL title

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Khoza discussed Bucs' aspirations and explained why the club bought two defenders during the current Transfer Window

Orlando Pirates club chairman Irvin Khoza believes that three successive wins can fire his side back into the race for this season's Premier Soccer League (PSL) title.

The Soweto giants currently find themselves in a disappointing 10th position on the PSL standings having lost their last two matches.

Log leaders SuperSport United, who have tasted defeat on one occasion this season, are seven points ahead of Pirates, but the latter have a game in hand.

It is still tight at the top as second-placed Bidvest Wits are only behind SuperSport on goal-difference having played the same number of games (13) as Bucs.

“We can still win the league. This is Orlando Pirates and our mission is clear. If we can get things going with three league wins on the bounce, we can generate the momentum to carry us all the way," Khoza told the Mail & Guardian.

The PSL chairman is current leading Bucs' search for a new permanent head coach, who will replace caretaker coach Augusto Palacios.

Italian tactician Giovanni Solinas, former Pirates striker Benni McCarthy as well as Uganda trainer Milutin Sredojevic have all been linked with the coaching job.

“We won our first three games after he left but it caught up with the guys. This has been a difficult period for the players and support staff. I have made it my priority to appoint a new manager that will fit the Pirates mould and return this team to where it belongs," he said.

Palacios, who took over after Muhsin Ertugral's shock resignation last November, is expected to return to the Bucs development academy as the technical director.

“Two are South African, the rest are foreign, but all are currently in charge of either a club or national side so I can’t give more information. Development is his passion and few others in the country have as much pedigree in this department than him," Khoza added.

“He is not the head coach by his own design and I have had talks with him about potentially becoming the director of football at the club. In Augusto, we have someone who has the ability to create a pipeline of world-class talent,” he stressed.

The Bucs club boss went on to explain why they purchased two defenders Marc Van Heerden and James Okwuosa from Chippa United during the current January Transfer Window.

“We need to sort out our defence as it is impossible to win anything without a strong foundation at the back. We have shipped too many goals and, as much as we would like to promote up-and-coming players, none are quite ready yet. We need to sort things out in the short term,” Khoza indicated.

“Everyone involved wants to be a part of the rich history of the club. Though other fans might not openly admit it, the PSL needs a strong Pirates side competing for trophies. But first thing’s first we need to win those three games,” he concluded.

The Buccaneers will be away to Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on February 8 as the PSL action resumes.

Bucs, who last won the PSL title in 2012, will then take on the Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits on the February 11, and 15 respectively.

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