Ranking Sikhosana & Orlando Pirates' Greatest Ever Players

Jerry Sikhosana - Orlando Pirates 97Gallo

Orlando Pirates are a veritable institution in African and South African football, with the Soweto giants having enjoyed the services of some magnificent players.

In this feature, GOAL's Ed Dove ranks the greatest Buccaneers players in the history of the club.

Is there anyone we've missed out?

  • Shakes MashabaBackpagepix

    10Shakes Mashaba

    Mashaba has mellowed during his coaching career, following a controversial time as a youngster in which he was regularly getting himself into trouble on and off the pitch.

    A Pirates star during the 70s, the central defender could also do a mean job up front.

  • John Moeti of Orlando PiratesGallo

    9John Moeti

    Diminutive defensive midfielder who gave 1oo percent in every game, few have represented Bucs with greater commitment than Moeti.

    He was the beating heart of the 1995 African triumph with Pirates, and reached two Afcon finals, winning the big one in 1996.

  • Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs fans.jpgGallo

    8Webster Lichaba

    One of several Pirates players who leveraged their success in South Africa to secure moves to the United States, he played alongside the likes of Jomo Sono and Johannes Khomane at Atlanta Chiefs.

    He returned to Bucs—as skipper—before moving onto Jomo Cosmos.

  • Kaizer Chiefs & Orlando Pirates, March 2016.Gallo

    7Edward Motale

    Motale—a Nation Builder with South Africa in 1996—was only with Pirates for a relatively brief period, but it was a spell of undiluted success for Bucs as they clinched the league title, the African Champions Cup, the Caf Super Cup and other honours.

    The determined operator is surely the best left-back to represent Pirates.

  • Benni McCarthy of Orlando PiratesGallo

    6Benni McCarthy

    A contender for South Africa’s greatest player, McCarthy certainly achieved something an unprecedented success when he became the first Bafana Bafana star to win the European Champions League.

    He was past his prime when he represented Bucs, but still won three trophies during his two-season stint with the heavyweights at the tail end of his career.

  • Orlando Pirates fansGallo

    5Eric ‘Scara’ Sono

    One of several players on this list to pass away at a lamentably young age, Sono died in a car crash in the mid-60s when still approaching the peak of his powers.

    Pirates captain in the late 50s, he began life as a left winger before moving into a central role, and his quality in the forward line was key in establishing Pirates as the premier club in South African soccer.

  • Orlando Pirates fansGetty Images

    4Percy Moloi

    Chippa was a South African superstar during the 1960s, mesmerising audiences with his sublime skills in the heart of the park.

    He also netted the first ever Soweto Derby goal in 1970.

  • Helman Mkhalele - Orlando PiratesGallo

    3Helman Mkhalele

    A terrific character who was an absolute delight with the ball at his feet during his Pirates career.

    He was an African champion in 1995, where his movement, pace and dribbling caused consistent problems for the continent’s best defences.

    The wideman subsequently secured a move to Turkish football.

  • Jerry Sikhosana of Orlando Pirates challenged by Patrick Mabedi of Kaizer ChiefsBackpagepix

    2Jerry Sikhosana

    Legs of Thunder was the hero of Pirates’ 1995 Caf Champions League triumph against ASEC Mimosa, with his winner in the final bringing the title back home to Soweto.

    That was just one of several critical goals he scored for Bucs throughout his career, and his ability to accelerate beyond defenders in the final third was legendary.

    He was the first player to score a hat-trick in a Soweto Derby.

  • Jomo Sono - Orlando Pirates 1979

    1Jomo Sono

    Indisputably Pirates’ greatest player, Sono so loved Pirates that he even abandoned his own wedding—and his disgruntled wife—to save the team!

    The Black Prince of South African Soccer would spend some of his peak years in North America—notably with New York Cosmos alongside Pele—where he dazzled with his all-round qualities and sensational dribbling ability.

    He was once primed for a move to Juventus, only for work permit issues to intervene.