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Goal South Africa writer Austin Ditlhobolo looks at how Orlando Pirates loan returnees performed last season and their chances of staying at Bucs ahead of the next campaign

The following players campaigned in the Absa Premiership and National First Division(NFD) last season on loan from the Pirates first team.
 
Vusi Mthimkulu - Central Defender
 
The journey-man, Mthimkulu has been loaned out to three different clubs by Pirates since joining them in 2011 from NFD side Witbank Spurs.
 
He spent last season on-loan at Polokwane City, making 20 appearances in all competitions for Rise and Shine. It was his first full season in South Africa's elite league. 
 
The Kahlehong-born defender has been recalled by Pirates, and the club had an option to extend his contract, as it was due to expire on June 30.
 
Chances of him staying with Bucs will depend on the futures of Lucky Lekgwathi and Siyabonga Sangweni. Mthimkulu's versatility could be an added advantage to him, as he can also play as a defensive midfielder.
 
Thuso Mohohoma - Central Midfielder
 
'Choma' is one of coach Augusto Palacios' graduates from the Pirates Development Academy.
 
Since been promoted in 2011, the 23-year-old has had stints with a few NFD teams, including Atlie FC and Roses United. 
 
During this past campaign, Mohohoma played for Sivutsa Stars, where he made 21 appearances in all competitions for 'Uyavutha Umlilo'.
 
He's a good passer of the ball, and an excellent tackler with a good engine, making him a decent young defensive midfielder.
 
The youngster was not recalled by Pirates, and he's likely to be released by the Parktown-based outfit.
 
Hlabane Kutumela - Right Back
 
A member of the Baroka FC team that shocked Absa Premiership giants Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the 2011 Nedbank Cup quarterfinal encounter.
 
The young defender joined Pirates the following year, but he was instantly loaned out to Roses United in the NFD for the duration of the 2012/2013 season.
 
Upon his return from Roses United where he had only one appearance to his name, Bucs decided to send him back to his former team Baroka FC, who are now campaigning in the NFD.
 
The 24-year-old defender had a solid season with 'Bakgaga', making 29 appearances in all competitions, including a Nedbank Cup encounter against FC Cape Town. 
 
His ability to make good runs from the back into the opposition half earned him two league goals. 
 
The Mokopane-born defender has been recalled by Pirates, but odds of him staying with Bucs will depend on the futures of Bheki Nzunga and Mbongeni Gumede, who are likely to be transfer-listed.
 
Manti Moholo - Central midfielder
 
Nicknamed 'Mantistew' by his teammates, Moholo had a forgettable season this past campaign, as he played second fiddle to the likes of Oupa Manyisa, Lehlohonolo Masalesa, and Thandani Ntshumayelo.
 
He was then sent out on loan to Lamontville Golden Arrows in January, where he immediately became a regular for Abafana Bes'thende. 
 
The 28-year-old defensive midfielder made 11 starts, and netted one goal for Arrows. However, his efforts were not enough to save Arrows from direct relegation.
 
Moholo, who is a former Bucs academy player, has been recalled by Pirates, but he has been heavily linked with a possible move to either Ajax Cape Town or Mpumalanga Black Aces.
 
Linda Shiba - Right Midfielder
 
The dribbling wizard, is another journey-man, as he has played for several clubs since been promoted to the first team a few seasons ago.
 
The 26-year-old midfielder turned out for Chippa United, United FC as well as Bay United before being sent out on loan to Sivutsa Stars where he made 17 league appearances last season.
 
The Johannesburg-born attacking mildfielder hasn't been recalled back by Pirates, and has attracted interest from both Platinum Stars and Free State Stars. 
 
Rudolf Bester - Forward
 
Ever since he joined Pirates in 2011, the veteran Namibia international has never really rediscovered his old form that made him prominent at Maritzburg United.
 
At the beginning of last season, 'Rudi' as he's affectionately known to his teammates, was shipped to Lamontville Golden Arrows on a season-long deal.
 
The hard-running forward has always had an eye for goals, and he proved it at Abafana Besithende, netting four goals in the 20 appearances that he made this past season.
 
Despite having been recalled by Pirates, the 30-year-old attacker is unlikely to be kept ahead of the upcoming PSL campaign. He has been linked with a possible move back to Maritzburg United. 

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