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COMMENT: Sandilands, Mabokgwane or Mpontshane? Who should Orlando Pirates sacrifice?

5:16 PM SGT 21/6/18
Jackson Mabokgwane & Siyabonga Mpontshane, Orlando Pirates, March 2018
Goal assesses Bucs’ goalkeeping options and identifies a shot-stopper, who should be sacrificed

The arrival of Brilliant Khuzwayo at Orlando Pirates from Kaizer Chiefs means that Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has four goalkeepers at his disposal.

The lanky shot-stopper has joined Siyabonga Mpontshane, Wayne Sandilands and Jackson Mabokgwane in Bucs' first team goalkeeping department. 

Many have tipped Khuzwayo, who is a highly-rated goal-minder, to walk straight into the team’s starting line-up and make the number one spot his own at the Soweto giants in the new 2018/19 season.

Micho is most likely to face a goalkeeping conundrum at his club as one shot-stopper could be sacrificed as part of the team’s preparations for a big campaign which will see Bucs participate in five tournaments. 

Mpontshane was the club's number one towards the end of last season as the Buccaneers mounted a serious challenge for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title after taking over from Mabokgwane.

The 32-year-old player proved to be Bucs’ best keeper at the time as he produced consistent performances with the team securing a second-place finish in the league and they qualified for next season’s Caf Champions League

Mpontshane is expected to battle with 28-year-old Khuzwayo for the number one spot next season. This means Mabokgwane and Sandilands will struggle to make the match day squad, and one of them could be allowed to leave this winter.

Mabokgwane was given a chance to make the No.1 spot his own last season - making 12 league appearances. However, the former Mamelodi Sundowns player was dropped after conceding six goals in three games in February, 2018.

Mabokgwane had replaced Sandilands as the club’s first choice keeper in November 2017. Error-ridden Sandilands lost his place in the team’s starting line-up after committing a costly mistake against his former club, Sundowns and he went on to concede five goals in two games.

At the age of 34, Sandilands is definitely declining and he is past his best. With newly promoted PSL side Highlanders Park said to be keen admirers of Sandilands, Bucs need to sell the ageing keeper, who joined the Soweto giants on a long-term deal 12 months ago. 

Mabokgwane, who is 30, has room for improvement. If he manages to cut silly mistakes out from his game and improve his awareness and confidence in goal then he can move up the pecking order in Bucs' goalkeeping department.

With three experienced keepers (should the club part ways with one) at his disposal, Micho will have to find a way to keep them happy, sharp and ready for action. The Serbian should consider introducing a cup rotation policy for his keepers.

Bucs are set to participate in five major competitions next season - PSL, MTN8 Cup, PSL, Nedbank as well as Champions League. It would be important for keepers to have game time to ensure standards are maintained throughout the season.