FEATURE: Who is Orlando Pirates' Player of the Season?

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Goal takes a look at the three players who made quite an impact for the Buccaneers during the 2016/17 campaign

It has been a season to forget for Orlando Pirates, who are at risk of finishing outside the top eight for the first time in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era and also fail to qualify for the lucrative, MTN8 Cup.

Placed 11th with 33 points from 29 games, Pirates need to defeat Lamontville Golden Arrows by a five-goal margin on Saturday and hope that other results go their way in order to secure a top eight finish.

The Buccaneers are scheduled to lock horns with SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final on the 24th of June 2017. The Cup is Bucs' most realistic chance of salvaging a disastrous season.

They were dumped out of this season's MTN8 Cup in the first-round under Muhsin Ertugral's mentorship, before Augusto Palacios guided Pirates to the Telkom KnockOut Cup semi-finals.

Most of Pirates' players have underperformed and only a handful of them have excelled in patches. Goal runs through the top three performers for the Kjell Jonevret-coached side.


3. ABBUBAKER MOBARA


Much was expected from the utility player when he joined the Buccaneers after impressing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the former South Africa youth international has not disappointed.

The first round of the season was all about settling down at the Soweto giants for defender-come-midfielder following his big move from Ajax Cape Town. But it was difficult for Mobara because Pirates were very consistent in the first round.

However, Jonevret has since stabilized the Pirates ship and he has put his faith in Mobara, who has been impressive in a triangular central midfield set-up that includes Sarr and Oupa Manyisa.

The 23-year-old has proved to be Pirates' best signing this season - having notched up two crucial goals which were instrumental in sending the Buccaneers to the Nedbank Cup final.

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2. TENDAI NDORO


The 29-year-old started the current season like a house on fire - scoring five goals in his first two PSL matches and he was central to anything good about the Buccaneers in the first round.

By the end of the first round, the striker was the league's top goalscorer with 11 goals, and he looked set to be amongst the contenders for this season's PSL Player of the Season accolade.

However, the 2013 Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League (ZPSL) Golden Boot winner's Pirates form has slumped since the start of the 2017 - having scored once in 19 matches in all competitions. He's also one goal behind Cape Town City captain Lebogang Manyama in the race for this season's PSL Golden Boot award.

Nevertheless, Ndoro remains one of Pirates' key players - having played in all of their 29 league matches this season. Bucs will be hoping that Ndoro rediscovers his old form and inspires them to victory over Arrows and SuperSport.


1. ISSA SARR


The Senegalese midfielder has been Pirates' unsung hero this season - having stepped up during difficult times as the team continued to endure a turbulent campaign.

Sarr quietly did the job in front of the Pirates defence whenever he was called upon by Erturgral and Palacios. The Buccaneers lost only twice in the league before the festive and 2017 Afcon break with Sarr on the pitch.

Since Jonevret's arrival in February 2017, the 30-year-old has been playing like a rejuvenated player - with the Swedish tactician having helped Sarr better his performances and self-confidence.

His crucial last minute goal against Baroka FC at the Orlando Stadium a month ago earned Pirates a 1-1 draw and it kept the team's hopes of finishing in the top eight alive.

Sarr has proved to be Bucs' most reliable central midfielder and he has also undoubtedly, shone above his teammates this season.

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