Orlando Pirates: GOAL's 22-23 Season Preview

Orlando Pirates Season PreviewGOAL

GOAL assesses Orlando Pirates' prospects for the 2022/ 23 season.

Apart from all the signings, there is also a new coach - the Soweto giants have placed their faith in Spaniard Jose Riveiro.

Will this be the season the Sea Robbers bounce back, or will their recent underachievements continue?

  • Innocent Maela, Orlando Pirates, December 2021Backpagepix

    A new dawn?

    A new coach, a new captain in Innocent Maela and a major squad overhaul have made for an interesting build-up to the season for Bucs. With just one trophy in eight years, the club are no doubt determined to turn the corner and wholesale changes have been made in that quest.

  •  Ismail Mokadem, RS Berkane & Deon Hotto, Orlando Pirates, May 2022Backpagepix

    Story of last season

    After ex-head coach Josef Zinnbauer departed just two games into the season, it was an inconsistent and often frustrating campaign for the Buccaneers. There were however some glimpses of Pirates' potential when they went all the way to the final of the Caf Confederation Cup.

    Domestically, Pirates finished sixth in the league, were beaten by Marumo Gallants in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup and they were eliminated by Swallows FC at the first hurdle in the MTN8.

  • Evidence Makgopa, GOALGOAL

    Transfer activity

    Tapelo Xoki (AmaZulu) and Nkosinathi Sibisi (Golden Arrows), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka FC), Bienvenu Eva Nga and Azola Matrose (both Chippa United), Miguel Timm (Marumo Gallants), Shane Saralina (Pele Pele) have all been signed.

    Makgopa in particular could make an impact in front of goal.

    Meanwhile, club stalwarts and senior players such as Happy Jele, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Wayde Jooste, Wayne Sandilands, Linda Mntambo, Justice Chabalala, Abel Mabaso, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Gabadinho Mhango, Bongani Sam, Thabang Monare and Kwanda Mngonyama have all left the club.

  • Orlando Pirates Thembinkosi Lorch Vincent Pule.jpgbackpagepix

    Reasons for optimism

    The likes of Kwame Peprah, Deon Hotto and centre-back Olisa Ndah showed great promise last season and will be looking to build on that. If Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule, who missed a lot of last season through injury, can reignite their spark and Richard Ofori can remain consistent in goal, Bucs have the makings of a pretty decent side which could at least challenge for cup silverware, as well as a top-two league spot.

  • Jose Riveiro, Orlando Pirates, July 2022https://twitter.com/orlandopirates

    Reasons for pessimism

    The new coach could take a while to settle in and not being the fans' first choice, he could soon find himself under pressure if results do not go according to plan. Having so many new players could also make it hard for the side to gel, especially in what is going to be a frenetic few opening months ahead of the World Cup.

  • Goodman Mosele, Orlando Pirates & Orebotse Mongae, TS Galaxy, May 2022Backpagepix

    GOAL's prediction for 22-23

    With such a shake-up, this could be a transition season for Bucs. A third or fourth-placed finish in the league seems feasible. There's enough quality there for Pirates to at least challenge for one of the three domestic trophies; we can expect to see them taking part in the inaugural 2022/23 Carling Black Label Cup.