It was David versus Goliath in the Nedbank Cup of dreams. On paper, it was an easy win for the Mighty Buccaneers. However, we all remember how they lost 4-1 to a third tier Maluti FC during the 2013 Nedbank cup game.
In Sunday’s game, coach Kjell Jonevret had an opportunity to get his first win as the head coach of Orlando Pirates.
The Buccaneers were not about to under-estimate the EC Bee’s FC based on their starting eleven choice. The team rested three of their regulars in Brighton Mhlongo, Thembinkosi Lorch and Abbubaker Mobara. Pirates played a 4-4-2 formation, but it was a diamond shape in midfield because they started without an out and out winger. Makola and Morrison played narrow, allowing the fullbacks; Phungwayo and Matlaba to overlap.
In goals, an opportunity was given to Siyabonga Mphontshane. It was a chance for him to show the coach what he can do in a game situation. But he had nothing to do for the most part of the game. The saves he had to make were routine saves for a Pirates goalkeeper. As for the goal he conceded, there was nothing he would have done as there was a slight deflection from Gcaba.
At the back, Phungwayo kept his place at leftback. The Jele and Gcaba pairing is improving with every game. Matlaba came in at right-back for the injured Nyauza. Phungwayo and Matlaba were given the license to attack against the minnows. Jele and Gcaba dealt well with Qalanto who was the target man for the EC Bee’s FC; the only threat was aerial, which I felt the pair dealt with quite well. Besides the mistake from Sarr in the second half where he played a pass a little short to Jele that resulted in a goal; I thought the defense dealt well with what was thrown at them.
In midfield with Mobara rested, the workaholic Issa Sarr came in to partner Ace Manyisa in the center of midfield. On the left, Makola kept his place on the left wing and on the right wing, Lorch was rested and this opened up an opportunity for Benard Morrison to some game time. With the diamond shaped midfield that was selected, It was evident that the coach wanted to attack with fullbacks in Phungwayo and Matlaba. Tactically, Sarr was very important in covering the fullbacks when they overlapped; this I must add, he did very well. Sarr needs to work on his first touch and passing game because you can not question his application, work rate or his tactical awareness. The midfielders played well, especially in the first half and created chances. Morrison and Makola combined to creat the opening goal for Dove Wome who scored the opener. Morrison was quick, tricky and dynamic on the right, although he only lasted 60 minutes and was replaced by Memela. Makola had a lot of mobility and movement on the left; tucking in to create the channel for Phungwayo to overlap. He was the heart beat for the Buccaneers on the day. He capped off his man of the match performance with a brilliant free kick goal. But I would like to challenge Bibo (Makola) to be consistent in the next few games, great performance though. I have to mention Ace Manyisa, I’m enjoying his game again, not at the level we know Ace to be at, but he is influencing the games. You can see his influence in terms of dictating the pace of the game and his ball circulation. Keep working hard Ace, you have got ‘that thing’.
The fire power responsibility was left to Gabuza and Wome. It seems the coach is happy with this combination up front. It was a perfect chance for Gabuza to open his account for the season and boost his confidence and he did not disappoint. Gabuza got his goal from a good run from Matlaba which Wome crossed for him to finish. Good game boy, well taken goal, build from this performance yet another 90 minutes. Advice boy, leave the supporters, do the business on the pitch, let your work speak for you. In the last couple of articles I spoke about your positioning and today it was on point. Wome’s positioning is brilliant, and he is intelligent around the box. He is yet to complete 90 minutes for the Buccaneers, but should be happy with his performance; a goal and an assist.
Overall, a good moral booster win for the boys. When Mobara came on for Wome in the last 15 minutes, the message from the coach was clear that he was closing shop. We see the light coach, let us convert this form to our league games. We progress to the next round and that was the main objectives