New season, same problems for Orlando Pirates?


Had Orlando Pirates been more clinical up front, they may well have emerged victorious from Sunday's Carling Black Label Cup against Kaizer Chiefs.

In a tight match, neither side created many clear-cut chances.

It was, however, Bucs who had the better of the opportunities from open play.

And they could have won the game had Thembinkosi Lorch been more deadly when presented with a great chance with about 20 minutes of regulation time to play, but his shot lacked conviction and Itumeleng Khune was able to make a smart save with his legs.

Lorch also has another opportunity but fired too close to Khune, while Fortune Makaringe sent a shot into the side-netting. Pirates' main striker on the day, Gabadinho Mhango, had a quiet game.

To end up on the losing side in a match which was fairly evenly balanced would have frustrated Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Speaking after the match in the SuperSport TV studio, former Banyana Bayana striker Amanda Dlamini elaborated on the issue.

"I think that what's important for the Buccaneers is that every time they play against a team like Chiefs, every season, they have to take some positives out of it," she said.

"But also they need to get better. You can't every season still be complaining about one and the same thing. The precision, the decisiveness, the execution, the clinical-ness in front of goal.

"Because they are a very well balanced team. And sometimes it's difficult to fault them, because they do so much of the good things, but never really making sure they do it [finishing] correctly."

Last season Mhango managed only five league goals, having netted an impressive 16 the season before that. Also chipping in last season were Deon Hotto with four league goals, Tshegofatso Mabasa with five and Vincent Pule with six.

To win a league though, it often takes a team's leading striker to score 15-plus goals. The feeling remains that Pirates are short of a proven striker, and it must have frustrated Bucs fans to see a former Sea Robbers player, Thabiso Kutumela, firing in the goals for Maritzburg United and earning a move to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Thabiso Kutumela

What a difference Kutumela could have made to Pirates, or Luvuyo Memela and Augustine Mulenga for that matter, who the Soweto side allowed to move to AmaZulu ahead of last season.

Apart from Kutumela, Sundowns have other strikers just about guaranteed to get them goals such as Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus, as well as attacking midfielders Themba Zwane and Lebohang Maboe.

Article continues below

With 30 league goals to his name over the past two seasons for SuperSport United, Bradley Grobler is probably the most viable, or at least the most obvious option for Pirates.

But they've been seemingly reluctant to make a move for the player, and as recently as June this year the Bafana Bafana striker signed a two-year contract extension with the Pretoria club.

Whether it's Grobler or someone else, Bucs may still need to bring in another marksman capable of finishing things off after the pretty football has been played through midfield.