Currently third in the PSL standings, Orlando Pirates have not enjoyed a stellar PSL season. The double treble winning side has been debilitated by injuries to key players throughout 2012/2013 and continues to struggle finding consistent goal scorers.
With many calling for Roger de Sa to be replaced, the former Bidvest Wits' coach has faced a torrid time at the Orlando Stadium since taking over at the beginning of the season.
With injuries to the stars such as Benni McCarthy, Siyabonga Sangweni and Sifiso Myeni, Pirates have had to rely on their reserve players throughout the second half of the season.
However, key performers have stood out and Goal.com South Africa decided to highlight the three players who have showed their class throughout what has been a largely disappointing season for the Buccaneers.
COLLINS MBESUMA | STRIKER
During a season where Pirates have struggled to find the back of the net consistently, Mbesuma has been able to show his class in front of goal and stands as the Buccaneers top scorer this campaign with 6 goals.
The Zambian international’s powerful running and deadly left-boot has enhanced a Pirates attack which has been struck by a spate of injuries throughout the season, including the loss of talisman Benni McCarthy. Mbesuma strength and ability to hold onto the ball has seen the forward play in 21 league matches this season.
Even though he has not been prolific, Mbesuma has weighed in with some quality performances – most notably a double against TP Mazembe in Pirates’ last Caf Champions League encounter.
ANDILE JALI | MIDFIELDER
Always involved, a passing genius and creative midfield force Andile Jali has enjoyed yet another steady season for the Buccaneers.
Despite his side’s lack of league form, Jali has stood tall as their most vital player in the middle of the park with the likes of Oupa Manyisa and Onyekachi Okonkwo suffering from inconsistent form.
Hit by an unfortunate injury, Jali has only been able to start 18 times for Pirates – scoring four goals and being a constant thorn in their opponents’ sides. Many will think what could have been of Pirates season if Jali was one hundred percent fit throughout.
With a Bafana Bafana call-up still on the cards, Jali will hope he can come back stronger in the new season and help lift the doldrums surrounding the Orlando Stadium.
DAINE KLATE | MIDFIELDER
Klate’s impeccable technique and stamina has helped him put in some outstanding performances for the Buccaneers this season. A consistent starter, Klate has made 23 appearances and scored three times.
With the likes of Sifiso Myeni suffering from a long-term injury Klate has had to step up and put in the hard yards this campaign, often delivering consistently on the wing by offering the Buccaneers width and superb crosses.
Klate will continue to be an important force on the flanks for Pirates as they chase glory in the Caf Champions League and search for answers to turnaround their rather beleaguered PSL campaign.