Orlando Pirates: More questions than answers for Buccaneers

Orlando Pirates players.BackpagePix.

In what has shaped up to be a season of near misses for Orlando Pirates, it's not easy assessing whether or not the Soweto giants are heading in the right direction.

Pirates' 2-2 draw with Royal AM on Friday night has left them in sixth spot. If they beat SuperSport United in their final game by five or more goals, Bucs will end third, the same as last season.

It's more likely though that they finish either fourth or sixth - with a lower scoring win, draw or loss respectively, vs SuperSport.

The season before, 2020/21, Pirates claimed third spot and won the MTN8. When everything is weighed up, it could be argued that Bucs have achieved roughly the same over the past two seasons.

But while they have done okay, certainly not badly, there is not really enough to suggest that they're ready to challenge the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns and start winning trophies again.

What does the future hold for the coaches?

There have been times this season when co-coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi have been criticised by the fans, and there have indeed been periods and games when Bucs have under-performed and underwhelmed.

Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi co coaches of Orlando Pirates.
BackpagePix.

There are also a few players who can perhaps count themselves lucky to have been given so much game-time, while the Gabadinho Mhango situation made things really difficult for the coaches.

In the end though - with a possible top three or four league finish and a continental final - it could be argued that Ncikazi and Davids have done pretty well and deserve to continue.

Bringing in a new man would be a big call and may unsettle things, he would have to start from scratch. But then again, with Pirates not really clearly progressing to where they want to be - inconsistency has plagued them - more drastic measures may be called for.

If a new coach did come in, the two current men in charge could still be part of the technical team, though that would depend on who the new man is.

Again, the question to be asked is - are the signs there that there is something to build on? It's a tough one to answer.

Squad overhaul?

It must also be mentioned that Davids and Ncikazi were not in charge when many of the current Pirates were signed, although it’s worth noting there is a strong Maritzburg United connection, Davids' former club.

Perhaps though if handed a reasonable transfer budget, the pair could begin to build upon the foundations they hope to have set in place.

Whoever is responsible for the off-season business, it’s going to be crucial that Bucs make some key signings, and get in the right players.

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In attack, they could really do with a reliable scorer, while another central defender also seems a necessity.

At what could be pivotal points in the histories of both the floundering Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs included, there are some big decisions to be made over both playing and coaching staff in the weeks ahead and it’s going to be fascinating to watch it all unfold.