A sequence of injuries at Orlando Pirates at the moment all seems like the club is facing a dejavu, something they were constantly battling with last season, disrupting the team’s progress in the race for the DStv Premiership title.
A number of key players at the Buccaneers missed the better part of last campaign and the story is this same in the current campaign, with injuries being reported almost after every game they play. Bucs have been without several players due to injuries including Zakhele Lepasa, Wayne Sandilands, Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Innocent Maela.
Happy Jele and his defensive partner Olisa Ndah are the latest players to be dealing with knocks. Ndah has showed some promising signs at centre-back alongside captain Jele. Both players are doubtful for the Soweto derby league tie against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
This has obviously raised a lot of concern for co-coach Mandla Ncikazi, who will be crossing his fingers to at least have some of these players fit in time for the clash against Amakhosi, especially Ndah, who appears to have slotted in nicely in the Bucs defence.
“We will wait for the medical report to assess how serious it is. It’s a bit of a concern but it’s the story of our lives at the moment. In almost every match so far, we lose a player. The sad part is it’s not an injury during training. It’s just unfortunate it is injuries that are out of our control. We hope he (Ndah) will be available for our next match as he plays an integral part within our team,” said Ncikazi.
With the availability of both Ndah and Jele uncertain, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Kwanda Mngonyama are likely to be paired together for the first time at center-back. Hlatshwayo has made nine appearances for the Buccaneers and currently he has been used as a substitute, while Mngonyama has not featured for the club in the club league, but started in both legs against Diables Noirs in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Pirates, however, will go into this clash with some confidence having registered a win in their previous game over Sekhukhune United, while Chiefs lost their match to Stellenbosch FC.