COMMENT: Sangweni not so fortunate at big clubs, including Orlando Pirates

The Bucs anchorman has fallen out of favour under Micho and Goal assesses his current situation at the Houghton-based outfit

Much was expected from Siyabonga Sangweni when the central midfielder secured a big transfer to Orlando Pirates from Chippa United prior to the start of the current 2017/18 campaign.

Sangweni was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Siyabonga, who had a successful spell with Pirates playing an instrumental in helping the club win four major trophies during his five-year stint at Houghton-based outfit.

Thamsanqa managed to relaunch his career at Chippa United following a disappointing spell with Mamelodi Sundowns where he struggled for game time and he spent some time at Ajax Cape Town on loan from the Brazilians in the second round of the 2013/14 season.

Thamsanqa Sangweni in action for Chippa United

Chippa came calling for defensive midfielder's services prior to the 2014/15 season and he never looked back after joining the Eastern Cape side as he managed to establish himself as one of the team's key players.

The Dondotha-born player regained the form which saw him attract interest from top Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs including Sundowns, while playing for AmaZulu FC in 2012. Sangweni was rewarded with a national team call-up and he made his international debut for South Africa against Senegal in 2012 while on the books of Usuthu.

When Chilli Boys defied all odds by finishing sixth in the league during the 2015/16 campaign and qualified for the MTN8 Cup for the first time in the club's history, Sangweni was one of the team's most outstanding players. 

The hard-tackling midfielder then played an important role in helping Chippa survive relegation last season as the club captain and his displays did not go unnoticed as reigning PSL champions, Bidvest Wits, and Pirates battled for his signature.

Orlando Pirates legend Jerry Skhosana with Thamsanqa Sangweni and Abbubakar Mobara

Ultimately, the lanky midfielder joined the Buccaneers as a marquee signing and some expected him to walk straight into the team's starting line-up as the Soweto giants squad was revamped following a disastrous 2016/17 campaign.

The Soweto giants had conceded a whopping 40 goals in 30 league games and many Pirates supporters called for the club to sign a quality holding midfielder during the last winter transfer window. Sangweni was seen as a perfect signing due to his ability to make strong tackles and also play comfortably with the ball, while protecting the backline.

The gifted player put in a good shift on his debut for the Buccaneers against his former side, Chippa in the first league game of the season. Pirates edged out the Chilli Boys 1-0 at the Orlando Stadium last August.

Unfortunately, Sangweni picked out a knee injury which kept him out for two months during the clash with the Chilli Boys. Upon his return from injury he battled for game time as fellow new signing Musa Nyatama had established himself as coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic's first choice defensive midfielder.

Thamsanqa Sangweni

To date, the midfield enforcer has made only three league appearances as he continues to struggle to make Pirates' match-day squads and Sredojevic has had to answer questions regarding the player's future at the club.

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The Serbian tactician has repeatedly stated that Sangweni needs to work hard in order to regain his place in the Bucs starting line-up. It is clear that Micho is unsatisfied with the effort that the player is putting in at training.

Sangweni is risking being labelled a 'small club' player having also failed to live up to expectations at 2016 Caf Champions League winners, Sundowns, who got rid of him having made only 11 appearances for the Tshwane giants. 

The ball is firmly in the 28-year-old's court and he must fight to try to salvage his Bucs career. On his day, Sangweni is surely one of the best central midfielders in the country and he definitely has the talent to command a regular place in the Pirates starting line-up.

However, talent alone can never be enough to succeed at a big club like Bucs, Sangweni needs to work hard to win back his place in the starting line-up last season and he will be rewarded for his improved attitude.