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Orlando Pirates: Five players Bucs need to build their team on

15:01 SAST 2021/06/13
Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates
Including last season's top eight title, the Sea Robbers have only won one competition in seven seasons and last claimed the league title in 2012

If Orlando Pirates hope to recapture their glory days, they will need to not only strengthen their squad with new signings, but also maximise the current potential they have on board.

  • Orlando Pirates players, January 2021

    Squad still needs tweaking

    After a season of mixed fortunes for Pirates, the Buccaneers do still seem a step or three behind South African soccer pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns (in fact they finished 17 points behind Masandawana) and the club may well be looking to strengthen in the off-season.

    And while players will come in and others will leave, continuity, in the form of a strong spine to the team, is also very important. Goal takes a look at five Sea Robbers who could and should be the backbone of the team for the next three or four seasons.

  • Richard Ofori, Orlando Pirates, October 2020

    1. Richard Ofori

    Any team that wants to challenge for trophies needs a top class goalie. Not only to make those crucial saves, but also to lead from the back, to be a strong communicator, and to inspire confidence and calm. The physically imposing Ghana international has all those attributes, yet didn't always produce his best in his first season with Bucs. He'll be determined though to come back stronger next term.

  • Innocent Maela, Orlando Pirates, October 2020

    2. Innocent Maela

    Pirates have a lot of players who should be defensive leaders; yet last season, for various reasons, none of Happy Jele, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza really stood tall.

    In the starting line-up for Bafana against Uganda this week, the 28-year-old Maela (one of the younger defenders in the Bucs rearguard) should be in his prime now and should be looking to make himself one of the first names on the Bucs team-sheet for the next three or four years.

  • Ben Motshwari, Orlando Pirates, January 2021

    3. Ben Motshwari

    Reliable, cool headed, a good reader of the game, the 30-year-old former Bidvest Wits deep lying midfield schemer would be a key man for just about any team.
  • Vincent Pule Daniel Cardoso

    4. Vincent Pule

    While the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch, Deon Hotto and even Gabadinho Mhango have blown hot and cold, Pule has proven to be one of Pirates’ most reliable attacking forces. Nine goals in all competitions last season was testament to that.

  • Tshegofatso Mabasa Orlando Pirates

    5. Tshegofatso Mabasa

    Mabasa’s had his injury problems, but when he plays he generally scores – last season he was netting every 89 minutes in all competitions.

    The problem was that he made only 19 appearances (eight goals). If Bucs can keep the 24-year-old fit, they will have quite some striker on their hands.