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COMMENT: Why Augustine Mulenga should lead Orlando Pirates' attack

11:00 pm AEST 25/9/18
Augustine Mulenga, Orlando Pirates & Ryan Rae, Highlands Park, August 2018
Goal takes a look at the highly-rated forward, who could be Bucs' solution for their scoring woes

Scoring goals continues to be a problem in South African football, and Orlando Pirates have had their fair share of challenges in front of goal.

The Soweto giants' scoring problem has been a talking point once again this season, and it is one of the reasons why the team has endured a slow start to the campaign.

Pirates head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic has been forced to rethink his attacking strategy while the club's finishing coach, Stephane Adam, has been criticised as the strikers struggled to find the back of the net.

Micho has four established strikers in Thamsanqa Gabuza, Justin Shonga, Thabiso Kutumela and Augustine Mulenga at his disposal, while teenage frontman Lyle Foster and versatile attacker Meshack Maphangule are also an option for the Serbian tactician. 
 
Goal explains why should be Mulenga should be Pirates' first-choice striker this season: 


GOOD FORM 


It is safe to say that Mulenga hit the ground running at the Buccaneers after joining the club from Zambian side Zanaco midway through last season as he ended the campaign with three goals from six league games.

The 28-year-old player came into the current campaign looking to continue from where he left off last season. He managed to open his scoring account for the term in his second game of the season which was against SuperSport United in MTN8 Cup quarter-final clash.

However, Mulenga picked up an injury in the next game which Pirates lost 1-0 to Bidvest Wits in a league encounter. Upon his return from injury, Mulenga grabbed an assist as Bucs overcame SuperSport 3-1 in a league game.

The former Nkwazi FC and Nkana FC forward followed up that performance with a goal during the Buccaneers' 2-2 stalemate with Cape Town City. His return to action has resulted in Pirates scoring seven goals in three games (against SuperSport, City and Baroka FC).

Pirates had missed his good movement and predatory instincts during their games against Bloemfontein Celtic and Black Leopards.

Gabuza, who filled the void left by Mulenga, came under fire as he struggled to convert easy goalscoring opportunities.  


CONFIDENCE AND GOOD ATTITUDE 


Mulenga's attitude has also been impressive as he has shown that he does not lose confidence very easily. 

The hard-working forward missed a penalty in regulation time during the Cup clash with SuperSport, but he had the mental strength to take another one in a penalty shootout and he converted it. 

The Lusaka-born frontman is one player, who steps into the pitch with the mindset that the team is counting on him and he works his socks off to ensure that he ends up on the winning side.


GOOD MOBILITY AND EYE FOR GOAL


Micho has utilized Mulenga has one of the front three players in a 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations with the Zambia international leading the attack this season.

Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch, and Mulenga have all flourished in both formations as they are all-rounders with pace and shooting ability. They can use their speed and dribbling skills on the wings before cutting inside.

Mulenga usually starts as a central attacker or upfront alone because he is a versatile attacker, who can move on the wings allowing the wingers to move inside. This was evident during Bucs' league win over SuperSport as he went wide before playing a cross into the box for Pule to score.

The 2017 Zambian Player of the Year's finishing ability also makes him the right man to lead Pirates' attack.

His statistics (five goals in 11 matches in all competitions) at Bucs and his confidence in front of goal depict that he has the potential to be a regular at Pirates. 

There is no doubt that Mulenga can become a reliable goalscorer for the Buccaneers if he stays injury free this season.