How Orlando Pirates could line up with Xola Mlambo and Augustine Mulenga

Bucs recently added Mlambo and Shonga to their roster, but if Micho had to field all both, how would they line-up?

Orlando Pirates have struck a deal to sign Zambia international Augustine Mulenga after bringing in Xola Mlambo on Monday.

Mulenga's arrival has boosted the Bucs striking department which needed to be strengthened especially with Thamsanqa Gabuza having fallen out of favour.

The winger-come-striker is an accomplished player, who has all the qualities to make an immediate impact at Pirates having joined the club from top Zambian side Zanaco.

Mlambo, who has established himself as one of the top central midfielders in the country, secured a move to the Bucccaneers from the reigning PSL champions Bidvest Wits.

The former Chippa United player will only bring healthy competition in the Bucs central midfield which consists of Musa Nyatama, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Issa Sarr and utility player Abbubaker Mobara.

But how exactly will the new recruits fit in at Pirates with the current crop of players?

Goal takes a look at some of the potential formations that Mulitin 'Micho' Sredojeivc could use to accommodate Mlambo and Mulenga.


Pirates XI

Despite the presence of Sangweni and Sarr, Sredojevic has opted to use Mobara in central midfield alongside Nyatama in recent times. But Mobara's best position is arguably at right-back. 

A 4-4-2 formation may suit Mlambo, who flourished in a two-man central midfield at Wits last season. As a deep-lying playmaker, Mlambo has the ability to make key forward passes and he can form a good partnership with Nyatama in the middle of the park.

Upfront the 2017 Zambian Footballer of the Year Mulenga's countryman Justin Shonga is slowly establishing himself as a key player for Sredojevic side. The duo formed a good understanding upfront for Zambia during the 2018 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.

Their striking partnership would cause havoc for PSL defenders as the two forwards are blessed with short burst speed, superior agility and an eye for goals. They would surely compliment each other in a 4-4-2 formation.


Pirates XI

A 4-3-3 formation can also be an option for Micho with Mlambo partnering with Mpho Makola and Nyatama in central midfield. Mlambo enjoyed his best football at Chippa while playing as an attacking midfielder - scoring twice and grabbing several assists in the league. 

With Nyatama deployed as a holding midfielders in this formation, Makola and Mlambo would be the ideal central attacking midfielders as the duo possess superior technical abilities in terms of passing and dribbling. 

Mulenga, who possesses speed and power to flourish in the wing, has often been used as a winger by Zambia head coach Wedson Nyirenda and the forward would be familiar with the 4-3-3 formation having scored three times for Chipolopolo during the 2018 Chan finals in Morocco while deployed in the same position.


Pirates XI

As a box-to-box midfielder, Mlambo has good all-round abilities. He has already proved that he has what it takes to play just in front of the defence and offer constant support to the back four. 

Article continues below

Mpho Makola, Luvuyo Memela and Thembinkosi Lorch would be the ideal three attacking players, who would drop deeper making a flat midfield four if Bucs lose the ball.

This formation would also accomodate 28-year-old Mulenga, who assisted two crucial goals for Zambia against Algeria in 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier, upfront playing alongside Shonga or promising striker Lyle Foster.

Sredojevic is definitely relishing the luxury of the multiple attacking options which he hopes will enable the club to mount a serious challenge for the PSL title and Nedbank Cup in the second round of the current season.