Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
29 Jul 2021
6:39 am

The five goalkeepers currently in the Orlando Pirates training camp

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Pirates also have a new goalkeeper coach.

Kopano Thuntsane, who spent last season at Bizana Pondo Chiefs, is back at Pirates. Picture: Steve Haag/BackpagePix.

Orlando Pirates’ pre-season training has included five goalkeepers, who are currently in camp with the club at the Royal Marang Sports complex in Rustenburg.

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The Buccaneers have been in the North West for about two weeks now, as they prepare for the 2021/22 season.

On Sunday, they will play in the Carling Black Label Cup against Kaizer Chiefs at Orlando Stadium.

Richard Ofori, Wayne Sandilands, Siyabonga Mpontshane, Elson Sithole and Kopano Thuntsane will all be fighting for a place in the Bucs starting line-up.

Sithole and Thuntsane graduated from the Buccaneers, with Thuntsane having spent last season on loan at Bizana Pondo Chiefs, who were campaigning in the GladAfrica Championship.

The five keepers are under a watchful eye of former Cape Town City goalkeeper coach, Sjoerd Woudenberg, who was appointed as the new Bucs goalkeeper coach this week.

“If you train every training session and goalkeeping session at the highest level, they players should adapt quickly to my way of working, the way I try to improve the goalkeepers,” Woudenberg told Pirates media.

“To be honest, if you look at the last week, how they have already made steps in their development, it won’t be tough to reach the highest level, especially at a club like Pirates where you must be the best goalkeeper in the country, and that’s what I want to reach with all of the goalkeepers. We have a tough pre-season but I think it is very good for the guys and, if you look at the squad, if you look at the goalkeepers, if you look at the technical team, it is top quality in every department and I’m happy to be here.”

The appointment of Woudenberg comes after the club had spent some time without mentor in that position, which saw Sandilands doubling up as a player and a coach.

The club also faced a goalkeeping crisis last season, after injuries to Ofori and Mpontshane left them with Sandilands as the only experienced shot-stopper, with Thuntsane being called up to back him up in the DStv Premiership games.