For years, Orlando Pirates have prided themselves on being a club that play with natural wingers and being lethal on the flanks, but this season their identity has somewhat diminished.
Earlier in the season, I noted how Pirates’ wingers never used to utilise the flanks, attack up to the byline and supply crosses as potently as they used to.
Their wide men, in fact, were seen more often preferring to cut inside and supply the ball to the central midfielders, or Kermit Erasmus when he was used as the lone striker.
It is in far contrast to the treble-winning team that so brilliantly mastered their success, based on the play that Daine Klate and Tlou Segolela used to bring on the flanks, and now there are just fragments of their legacy.
When Pirates do look to the wings, Mpho Makola is often seen playing out wide, however, he isn’t a winger by trade and is more suited to the traditional number 10 role.
Thabo Rakhale would then be considered as a natural choice to take over from Klate, but despite his burst of form this season, he has been limited to cameo appearances. This in turn doesn’t allow him time to restore Pirates’ pride on the wings, and get the players used to receiving crosses from wide.
Thabo Qalinge is another player who can be considered a natural winger, but like Rakhale, he has barely featured at all - leaving the club with no real wing player for the first time in years.
It seems that Eric Tinkler prefers to play a more central game and, with this, I feel that the team has lost some of its identity and lethal threat, as no other team in the PSL could use the wings as dangerously.
Do you think Pirates have lost their identity on the wings?