Orlando Pirates promise more changes to the squad

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The Soweto giants have already brought in nine new players as they prepare for the new campaign

Orlando Pirates administrative manager Floyd Mbele says the Soweto giants had to beef up their squad ahead of their Caf Champions League campaign.

On Monday, the Buccaneers announced that they had signed Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo, Chippa United trio of Linda Mntambo, Paseka Mako and Abel Mabaso, Mamelodi Sundowns duo of Asavela Mbekile an Kudakwashe Mahachi, Bidvest Wits midfielders Vincent Pule and Ben Motshwari as well as Black Leopards attacker Meshack Maphangule.

The Houghton-based side is also expected to part ways with some of their players.

Mpho Makola, Thabo Matlaba, Issa Sarr, Thamsanqa Sangweni and Justice Chabalala are some of the players, who could be offloaded by Pirates during the July-August transfer window, according to media reports.

"We've reinforced the team to improve our squad. Even last season we made a number of signing. This is an ongoing process,” Mbele told IOL. 

“We had to increase our numbers because we will be competing in Caf next season. That's why we have strengthened our team. We know about the demands that come with playing in Caf,” he continued.

Mbele stated that they know what to expect if they do well in the Champions League in terms of players suffering from fatigue. SuperSport United struggled domestically after reaching the 2017 Caf Confederation Cup final.

“We've seen where have the other teams ended on the log after playing in continental competitions. We don't want to be victims,” Mbele said. 

"It has happened to us before. We reached the final of the Caf Champions League in 2013 and 2015 Caf Confederation Cup final. It took us time to recover after reaching those finals," he explained.

"It also had an impact in us finishing number 11 on the log last season (2016/17). We don't want to find ourselves battling in domestic competitions because of our Caf participation,” he added.

“We need a strong squad that can compete in all fronts. We want to try and avoid the fatigue that comes with playing in Africa,” he continued.

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Pirates are most likely to make more signings ahead of the 2018/19 season having been linked with Wits captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, and outgoing Sundown forward Khama Billiat.

"We need to be in consultation with the technical team. It is a process but obviously there will be players leaving. But like I say, it is a process not an event," Mbele said.  

When asked about the club’s interest in South Africa captain Hlatshwayo, Mbele said: "The transfer window market is still open but don't throw individual names to me.”

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