Coming to this game, Orlando Pirates were at position 3 after 4 games, with 2 wins and 2 draws. The Buccaneers will be unhappy with their last game, especially because they drew at home in their last incounter vs Platinum Stars. They conceded in the last minute of the game via a set-piece to the shortest man on the pitch in Thobani Kunene.
I felt Pirates were very, very lucky to get a point out of the game because they didn’t pitch up. They only had 2 shots on target, meaning if it was not of Brighton Mhlongo, Pirates would have lost by 3 or even 4. I thought the keeper was the best Pirates player on the pitch, they were very lethargic in their approach. The players looked disinterested, was it the heat or did the players underestimate the Polokwane City players? A lot of work for coach Mushin, it’s seems he is still unsure of his best team yet.
Looking at the line up that took the pitch today, it is safe to say that Brighton Mhlongo has reclaimed the number one jersey at the team. Since he has come back, he has played 4 games while conceding in 3 and keeping 1 cleaning sheet. Pirates look solid, or should I say better with him in goal. He is high in confidence after winning man of the match in the last game versus Platinum Stars, and what a great performance on his debut for Bafana Bafana versus Ghana. Today Pirates must thank him for saving their blushes.
The defence is still a worrying factor, especially if a short striker like Kunene can score with his head when you have the height of Happy Jele and Justice Chabalala who have the height at the back. The coach has been consistent with Jele, Chabalala, Matlaba and Mobara. But for me the coach must decided where he wants to play Mobara, because the player can’t play right back one game, and the following week he is in midfield, and some games he starts at right back then he is moved to midfield later in the game. Looking at today’s game Mushin took him out, we know the man of the match on the Tlolane was giving problem. But as a coach you dnt have to sub him you, just correct the structure. Meaning Jele must always be ready on the cover because the best player on the pitch causing problems, you get Sarr to also be on alert.
In midfield Mpho Makola has been the one to lead the midfield offensively and does the same job for Bafana Bafana, but today he played in patches. Oupa Manyisa is still struggling to get to the Oupa we know , we have not seen the best of Rakhale yet but he got an opportunity again and disappointed because he didn’t go past opponents, creat space for himself or get crosses in, very disappointing from him. Since the clash between the coach and Gyimah we have seen Isaar Sarr been preferred as the holding midfielder. But he looses the ball a lot for someone who is suppose to start play for the team. Today the midfielders wouldn’t even make 4 or 5 passes together. Overall disappointing display by the midfielders today, they actually only looked better when the 2 wingers in Memela and Nooriden came on.
Upfront Tendai Ndoro selects himself with his fine form so far. With his 6 goals in 5 games so far this season and that means out the 7 goals Pirates has he contributed 6 as he rescued the game today. Though he will be disappointed by his own standards that he had not scored in his last 2 outings before scoring today. He will be happy he scored today but knowing he will not be happy with his performance. But I will protect him and say he did not get the supply today. He had a new partner today in Thabiso Kutumela who was rewarded because he came off the bench in the last game and scored. He tried too hard today and sometimes you just need to play your usual game for the ball to fall for you as a striker, he is still young and he will learn but at a big club like Pirates he will need to learn fast. He was confident coming into the game because he was playing in his home town and at a stadium he knows very welll. We know the young man was the top goal scorer last season with 18 goals in the NFD with Baroka FC. So upfront Mushin played the 2 players who have scored for Pirates so far this season, so let’s give them 2 or 3 games to get the combination right.
So it was a very bad day at the office for Mushin and his players. A lot of work ahead for the coach, he seems undecided on the right back position, having played Mobara, Sikhakhane and today Nyauza. Mushin must make a clear decision on his back 4 because you can’t keep tempering with that department.
In midfield Pirates strength has always been playing through the wings so he must not temper with that its Pirates strength over the years. That’s why they looked a little better and balanced when he brought on the two wingers. And for the 2 wingers to function he needs a ball playing holding midfielder definetly not Sarr.