Orlando Pirates captain Hlatshwayo suspended for Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila clash

Thulani Hlatshwayo, Orlando Pirates, November 2020Backpagepix

Orlando Pirates co-captain Thulani Hlatshwayo is suspended for Wednesday’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) match against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at Thohoyandou Stadium.

The South Africa skipper picked up his fourth yellow card of the season in the 1-1 draw against Swallows FC last weekend.

Fellow captain Happy Jele is expected to step in for Hlatshwayo.

“Orlando Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo will not be available for selection ahead of the midweek DStv Premiership clash against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila,” Pirates announced in a statement.

“The 31-year-old picked up a yellow card late in the 1-1 draw against Soweto rivals, Swallows FC on Sunday. The caution was his fourth for the season, resulting in an automatic one-match suspension, meaning he will only be eligible for selection when the Buccaneers host Black Leopards on the weekend.”

It will be the third time for Hlatshwayo to miss a league match this season after failing to travel to Bloemfontein Celtic in November 2020, due to injury.

He was also not part of the 1-0 win over Chippa United on December 16.

Pirates have, however, confirmed the availability of attacker Vincent Pule who missed the Swallows game due to suspension after also collecting four yellow cards.

Meanwhile, Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids says they will not trouble themselves by paying attention to things out of their hands as they search for their first match of 2021.

The Buccaneers will be trying to recover from the 1-0 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns, as well as the 1-1 draw against Swallows on a rain-drenched Orlando Stadium pitch which slowed the movement of the ball and the players’ pace last Sunday.

They have been gearing up for Tshakhuma in Limpopo where they have been training under some searing heat.

“The conditions are perfect for training, for good nutrition, for good rest and for recovery,” Davids told Pirates’ media.

“It was a tough match on a heavy pitch in our last game. These are perfect conditions for us to solely focus on training and on ourselves to be able to get the performance and that’s the most important.

“The mentality is to focus on things that are in our control. That’s the mentality we have going into this game with, leave the external factors, what goes against us sometimes and focus on the performance and try to get the result.”

Now sitting sixth on the PSL table, Pirates have recorded victory just once in their last five games, making Wednesday’s match a must-win for them.