What does the future hold for Thabiso Kutumela?

Goal takes a look at one of South Africa's most promising young strikers, who has failed to live up to expectations during the 2016/17 campaign
Orlando Pirates striker Thabiso Kutumela had a disappointing debut season in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) after joining the Soweto giants from Baroka FC prior to the recently ended campaign.

Much was expected from the exciting frontman after he caught the eye of the biggest football clubs in the country when he impressed with his clinical finishing in the National First Division (NFD).

Kutumela, who hails from Mokopane in the Limpopo province, was instrumental as Baroka clinched the 2015/16 NFD title - netting 18 times in 29 matches and his exploits also earned him the league's Golden Boot accolade.

Amidst reported interest from SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, Kutumela decided to join Bucs on a long-term deal prior to the 2016/17 season and he reunited with his former teammate at Baroka, Gift Motupa.

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After representing South Africa at the 2016 Cosafa Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Kutumela discovered that he faced stiff competition for a place in the Pirates starting line-up.

Experienced internationals such as Tendai Ndoro and Thamsanqa Gabuza were Muhsin Ertugral's first choice strikers, while Ayanda Nkosi, who arrived from Free State Stars was also competing for a place in the team.

Kutumela made his debut for his new club when came on as a second-half substitute during Pirates' 3-1 victory over Lamontville Golden Arrows with Ndoro grabbing a hat-trick in the first league game of the season.

After missing two matches due to injury, Kutumela netted his first goal for Pirates with a deflected free-kick - earning his side a 1-1 league draw against Platinum Stars after coming on a second half substitute in September 2017.

The 23-year-old striker had brought new dimension as he kept the Stars defence busy with some clever movements upfront for Bucs.

However, he failed to make any meaningful impact in his next four competitive appearances for the Buccaneers.

Kutumela then found game time hard to come by under both Ertugral and Augusto Palacios. He's yet to feature under Kjell Jonevret, who was appointed in February 2017 and his last competitive appearance for Bucs was against Martizburg United in December 2016.

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Orlando Pirates, Thabiso Kutumela

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It is hard to think that the Kutumela will be part of Jonevret's plans for next season with the Swedish tactician expected to revamp the Pirates squad following the team's worst campaign in the PSL era.

However, there's no doubt that the promising forward has the talent and potential to become a top quality striker in the near future if he gets regular game time at any club, but Pirates are unlikely to sell him in the upcoming transfer window.

A season-long loan move to another PSL club might eventually be the way forward for Kutumela, who is quick, intelligent and lethal in front of goal.

He certainly has the attributes to make it in the top flight league.

With Chippa United and Baroka reportedly monitoring Kutumela's situation at Pirates, the former South Africa Under-23 international will not be short of admirers if his club decides to make him available for a loan move.

Having gained invaluable experience in the elite league, Kutumela would return to his parent club hoping to make an impact in the season ahead.