Orlando Pirates are seemingly not taking a leaf out of former club captain’s book, who is keen on seeing the team further improving under the current technical team.
In this week’s Soccer Laduma, edition 1076, former Bucs captain, Lucky Lekgwathi has raised his concerns about the changes made in the team’s defence in recent seasons.
Although there had been a noticeable improvement from the team’s defence under head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic and his technical team last season, as Bucs conceded 26 goals compared to the 40 goals conceded in the 2016/17 season, Lekgwathi feels that too many changes in defence could be detrimental to the team’s results and their progress.
While the signs are there that reinforcements are needed at the back for Pirates, as illustrated in Soccer Laduma’s Orlando Pirates’ season review in this week’s edition of the newspaper, Lekgwathi would want to see consistency in the team’s defence going forward.
During his time as Bucs captain, Phinda Mzala formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Siyabonga Sangweni, along with the younger player players they played with in those days.
As part of the squad changes taking place at Pirates in preparation of the new season, the Soweto giants have signed a right-back in Abel Mabaso, as well as Paseka Mako who is a left back, although there has been no official confirmation from the club about the latest signings as yet.
Lekgwathi has made a comparison of Bucs’ defence from his time, and the one under Sredojevic.
“If you look at the defence now and compare it to the one that we had, I think the problem is the continuous chop and change. Sometimes they will play Maela, then they will move Shitolo from defensive midfield into the right back position. Justice (Chabalala) will also come in and then in another game, there will be a different combination. During our time we were consistent – it was always myself, Siya, Thabo Matlaba, sometimes Happy Jele and then Rooi Mahamutsa would come in. We would only make about one change if it was necessary. Now, there are about two or three changes. If you always change your defence, then how do you expect to get them to understand each other? That also played a part in the downfall, but credit must be given because it has not been much of a problem this season,” said Lekgwathi.
Bidvest Wits’ Thulani Hlatshwayo, who has been Pirates’ transfer target in recent months, would be an ideal addition for Lekgwathi in Bucs’ squad.
“Going into pre-season, they need to work on their combinations and, going into the 2018/19 season, they need to have their defence sorted out. I must mention that (Innocent) Maela and Mthokozisi Dube have been doing very well and, given time, they will own their positions in the team. Pirates need a leader at the back, a vocal and experienced defender. They need someone who is going to marshal them. The problem is, there is not much communication at the back and the likes of Thulani Hlatshwayo are the kind of players you need in your team,” added Phinda Mzala.
An in-depth analysis of Pirates’ season review is in the latest Soccer Laduma, issue 1076, which came out this week.