Orlando Pirates have signed many players in the past two to three seasons, but it’s this season where I feel the club has hit the jackpot in the signing of Nigerian centre-back, Olisa Ndah.
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The Buccaneers have had major issues at the back in the last few years, more especially in the centre-back role where the club has been struggling to find a suitable partnership.
They have tried Ntsikelelo Nyauza with Happy Jele – Nyauza with Innocent Maela – or even Jele and Maela. But, it was the arrival of Thulani Hlatshwayo when everyone thought the Bucs problems at the back will be the thing of the past, however, the former Bidvest Wits and Bafana Bafana captain failed to hit the ground running in his first stint with the club last season and this campaign he is not even guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
For a player of his calibre and having seen him at his best at Wits and Bafana, Hlatshwayo seems to be a shadow of his former self at Pirates and had some really terrible games where he even cost the team maximum points.
That clearly meant Bucs’ centre-back problems weren’t over hence they went for the Nigerian, and I believe he hasn’t disappointed so far.
Maybe one would say, Ndah cost the team when he was judged to have handled the ball inside the box which gave Stellenbosch a penalty and saw the club play to a 2-2 draw with the Cape Town based outfit. But then again, even the world’s best players do mistakenly handle the ball in their own box, it doesn’t really take away the fact that they are the best.
Ndah is confident on the ball, makes some nice turns at the back with his skills. I don’t even want to talk about his passing accuracy, whether it’s a long or a short pass, he perfects them.
I know it’s been only a few games, nonetheless, I think we still going to see the best of Ndah in the Bucs colours and he will definitely fix the club’s problems at the back with Happy Jele ageing gracefully. And a special mention also goes to Kwanda Mngonyama. He had a brilliant debut in the Caf Confederation Cup against Diables Noirs in the first leg. I think going forward we will see Ndah and Mngonyama as Pirates centre-back pair.