It has been almost three years since Siyabonga Mpontshane last played in a Soweto Derby, but the veteran could well be the man between the sticks for Orlando Pirates when they take on Kaizer Chiefs this weekend.
Despite being a peripheral figure in the last two seasons which has seen him make a mere four appearances in all competitions, Mpontshane has shown that class is indeed permanent.
The 34-year-old has stepped in and deputized excellently in the absence of regular Pirates number one Richard Ofori who sustained a groin injury in Pirates’ goalless CAF Confederations Cup draw against ES Sétif in Ghana.
Mpontshane was once again impressive when he made a rare start in Pirates’ 2-1 win against Enyimba and indications are that he could feature for Pirates in Sunday’s Soweto Derby against Amakhosi, if his coach’s comments are anything to go by.
“We have three top keepers, we trust all of them; this was the reason Pontshi has not (had so much) game-time and this is the reason we prepare both keepers. Wayne (Sandilands) has in the last season and in the last weeks, had more time than Pontshi, and now Pontshi needs the time,” Zinnbauer told journalists.
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“We don’t have 100% information on when Ofori is back. Now we don’t have three keepers, we have two, but the youngster is behind, but he is not enough (at) the moment. He needs a little bit more time, but its normal. These three keepers have the same level and we are happy about this and we saw Pontshi make a good performance,” he added.
If Mpontshane does play against Chiefs on Sunday, it will be his 15th career match against the Glamour Boys. The shot-stopper has an impressive record against the old foe, managing eight wins, while suffering four defeats and four of the matches ending in a stalemate.