In their pursuit of a seasoned and solid defender to lead their team from the back, Orlando Pirates haven’t yet given up on chasing the signature of Thulani Hlatshwayo.
The Buccaneers have been linked to the centre back from Bidvest Wits, who is the captain of the Sturrock Park outfit, for a few years now.
However, it has been difficult for the Soweto giants to land the signature of their target, as the Clever Boys have been reluctant to part ways with their leader.
As Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic will be adamant on winning silverware in the 2018/19 season and with the Bucs faithful expecting success from the team, Hlatshwayo is one player needed by the club as the Serbian coach is building a formidable team that can compete both domestically and in the continent.
Bucs will be involved in no less than five official competitions, namely, MTN8‚ Telkom Knockout‚ Nedbank Cup‚ Absa Premiership and CAF Champions League.
It is known that Pirates want to bolster their central defence by adding depth and quality to the position. The club has struggled to field a centre back that constantly plays week-in and week-out, a position that has defined the team in the past. The two most recent leaders in centre back were Lucky Lekgwathi and Siyabonga Sangweni and the Buccaneers are yet to fill the void following their respective retirements. Hlatshwayo is seen as the perfect replacement and there is no doubt that they would welcome his arrival.
However, over the years Wits have been reluctant to sell the defender as he has been a key figure in Gavin Hunt’s team. He is a fundamental part of the team’s spine and is the club captain.
The Students confirmed in February last year that the centre back had his contract with the club extended until 30 June 2019, and it subsequently emerged earlier this year that the player has agreed to a new deal with the Sturrock Park outfit that will see him under contract until, at least, June 30 in 2022. Hunt confirmed in 2018, when receiving his Coach of the Month award at the PSL headquarters in February, that Hlatshwayo had signed a new three-year deal with Wits. Due to the fact that Tyson is tied down on a long-term contract, it will take high-level negotiations behind the scenes for this deal to materialise, and it will only happen if it makes sense to Wits as the selling club, to Pirates - as the buying club - and to the player.
Get an in-depth analysis on Bucs' pursuit of the Bafana Bafana international defender in this week's Siya Special in issue 1080 of Soccer Laduma.