Orlando Pirates' Ncikazi makes stunning PSL-Afcon claim after Mhango exclusion

Mandla Ncikazi, Orlando Pirates, August 2021Backpagepix

Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has claimed the Premier Soccer League is perhaps bigger than the Africa Cup of Nations.

The tactician said so while explaining why Gabadinho Mhango was left out of Pirates Nedbank game against AmaZulu on Sunday, even though the Malawian had a rather good personal run in the continental competition.

"Pirates are a big team, we have got strikers and Mhango is one of them. We have got [Zakhele] Lepasa and [Tshegofatso] Mabaso, who has not been part of the team and we have [Kwame] Peprah, so Pirates have a galaxy of strikers, although others were injured," Ncikazi told the club's website after the 1-0 victory over Benni McCarthy's Usuthu.

"So, one may be the choice with respect to Pirates, where players have been preparing for the past week and Mhango just came back. We know Mhango is a good player, but not because anything is wrong with him, but because it is about competition and, currently, we chose to go with Peprah and Lepasa will get his opportunity.

"Mhango will wait like all the other players. We recognise and acknowledge his performance in the Afcon, but maybe the league in South Africa is bigger than the Afcon. But that is a question for another day."

Ncikazi also showered Thembinkosi Lorch with praise and said the 28-year-old is a big talent that any team would dream to have.

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"Lorch is a top player and when I arrived here he was injured and I am only seeing him after the injury. You can see he is developing and getting better, and that is why we are giving him more minutes in each match," he added.

"Lorch is a game decider and even in the training and in the games that we have played, players are so much confident that the game is played around him."

"So, we are looking at Lorch for many things to happen around him. He is a top player with a lot of expectations around him. He is a special player that every team would love to have."