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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist


OPINION: Pirates have to assemble a balanced squad

We all witnessed the disastrous campaign for the Buccaneers in terms of personnel following the number of injuries by the players at the club.


Now that it’s clear that Orlando Pirates are going back to competing in the Caf Confederation Cup, if there is one thing that one hopes to see, is the team having a balanced squad throughout the season to compete in all competitions.

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We all witnessed the disastrous campaign for the Buccaneers in terms of personnel following the number of injuries by the players at the club. 

I don’t know if I should say this was bad luck, but it really hindered Bucs chances of claiming other trophies after winning the MTN8. 

I’ve said this a couple of times before, Pirates has a squad with a lot of quality. So, there is no way that they can’t go all the way to conquer Africa, or even worse, here at home. 

Josef Zinnbauer lost a number of players last season through injuries, players like Tshegofatso Mabasa, Zakhele Lepasa, Thembinkosi Lorch and the top goal-scorer of two seasons ago Gabadinho “Gaba” Mhango. When Gaba returned to the squad he wasn’t himself at all, and his absence and those of other strikers forced Zinnbauer to play winger Deon Hotto as a striker. 

There is no doubt that Hotto did well, but imagine if Gaba was available throughout the season…I believe he would have combined well with Hotto, or even Lorch.

Sure, Pirates have done some good business in this transfer window brining in four players, who are fairly good in their own right to bolster their defense, midfield and the striking.

However, the technical team has to be smart going into the next season. Playing in the Caf tournaments demands a lot from players. And if you’re going to use the same squad for continental and domestic competition you risk losing players due to fatigue and injuries. 

I’m not saying there should be total changes, but managing the team well with suitable players in every position is the way to go. There are lots of players who are hungry to deliver for the club. So, the management must not make rushed decisions on sending some players on loan or on transfer, but rather keep players at the club so that they avoid problems of having to deploy some players in their unnatural positions.

Or even worse, having to go to a continental competition with only one goalkeeper.

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