Which players should Orlando Pirates sign ahead of next season?

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Goal takes a look at the players that Pirates should look to sign ahead of next season

Following a relatively successful 2017/18 season which saw Orlando Pirates challenge for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title and qualify for the Caf Champions League, Bucs are now beefing up their squad having signed Chippa United's defender-come-midfielder Paseka Mako and Mamelodi Sundowns attacking midfielder Kudakwashe Mahachi, and they are expected to bring in more new faces as they prepare for the new season.

Goal runs down a list of potential new signings:


BRILLIANT KHUZWAYO


Brilliant Khuzwayo Kaizer Chiefs 28032017

The goalkeeping department remains of the few areas the Bucs need to reinforce this winter. They currently have three senior players in Wayne Sandilands , Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane in that department.

Sandilands began the 2017/18 campaign as the club's first-choice keeer after joining the Soweto giants from Sundowns on a free transfer in July, 2017.

However, the 34-year-old made some crucial mistakes led to Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic to drop him and he was replaced by Jackson Mabokgwane. Former Bidvest Wits keeper Mabokgwane, who has a love-hate relationship with a section of Bucs fans due to his inconsistencies, was also dropped after conceding six goals in three league games in March 2018.

Siyabonga Mpontshane then took over and he never looked back as he showed consistency for the remainder of the campaign. The Buccaneers are reportedly looking to offload Sandilands, while Mabokgwane's future at the Houghton-based is also hanging in the balance.

The Soweto giants have been linked with outgoing Kaizer Chiefs keeper Brilliant Khuzwayo, even though, Pirates club chairmain Irvin Khoza recently stated that they are yet to approach the talented shot-stopper.

However, Khoza did indicate that they would be open to signing Khuzwayo if the player's agent approached the club with the keeper's contract with Chiefs due to expire at the end of June 2018. The highly-rated goal-minder would definitely improve the Pirates goalkeeping department and at the age of 28, he has what it takes to become the club's first-choice for many years to come. 


THULANI HLATSHWAYO


Bidvest Wits, Thulani Hlatshwayo

The Pirates defence looked a bit solid during the 2017/18 season under Sredojevic's guidance with the Serbian tactician rotating defenders in search of a stable back four. 

Abbubaker Mobara, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Gladwin Shitolo, Marshall Munetsi and Justice Chabalala featured in central defence as Micho tried different partnerships.

Happy Jele's return from injury in January 2018 strengthened the Bucs defence as he was the leader that the team needed. The experienced player marshalled the backline and he was partnered with different players at the heart of the team's defence which conceded 26 goals in 30 league games.

However, the 31-year-old needs some help with the Buccaneers set to participate in five competitions (MTN8 Cup, Telkom Knockout Cup, Nedbank Cup, Caf Champions League and PSL) next season. It is imperative for the Soweto giants to add more quality and depth to their squad. 

South Africa captain Thulani Hlatshwayo reportedly attracted interest from Pirates after he was quoted as saying that he grew up supporting the Soweto giants, and revealed his desire to join the club one day.

This was after the central defender's success with the Students. 


ANDILE JALI


KV Oostende, Andile Jali
Pirates are known to be looking to revamp their midfield having been linked with Andile Jali, Chippa United holding midfielder Abel Mabaso and Wits duo of Ben Motshwari and Phumlani Ntshangase. The club will also look to offload some of their current midfielders.

Issa Sarr and Thamsanqa Sangweni have been tipped to leave the four-time PSL champions in search of regular time while young midfielder Siphumelele Mbulu, who was promoted to the first team from the Pirates academy last February, could be loaned out in order to gain some much needed experience.

Musa Nyatama, 30, and Xola Mlambo, 26, are Micho's preferred central midfielders having featured regularly last season. 

Nyatama, who hit the ground running after joining Bucs from Bloemfontein Celtic last July, is the club's first-choice anchorman, while Mlambo impressed in midfield after securing a move to Pirates from Wits in January, 2018.

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Munetsi and Mobara have both proved that they are capable of doing the job in both defence and midfield, while Mpho Makola is also an option in midfield for Micho.

Re-signing Jali would bring stability to the midfield ahead of next season's Champions League campaign with the box-to-box midfielder having played an important role in helping the team reach the 2013 final where they lost to Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

Jali, who is a free agent having parted ways with Belgian club KV Oostende last month, is the most sought-after player in the country due to his immense experience and expectational ability. The Buccaneers will have to beat rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns to Jali's signature ahead of the new campaign.

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