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Pirates, outdone by Chiefs in the transfer market, rake in the signings but remain without a head coach

Mandla Ncikazi with former Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids

FILE - Mandla Ncikazi with former Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Jun 21, 2022


Cape Town — Orlando Pirates have Bafana Bafana a massive favour by signing the 21-year-old Baroka striker Evidence Makgopa, who is a key player in the national team's rebuilding phase.

The national team coach Hugo Broos has come under fire for including Makgopa in the most recent AFCON squad against Morocco after the striker had a lean spell of three league goals in 28 matches.

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In his defence, Broos said: "I keep confidence in him because if I let him down now, he's gone, and I don't want that because this is a young guy with qualities.

"I hope that he will one day go to a club where they will work with him, and you will see, he will be a good striker."

At Pirates, Makgopa will be training far more intensely and will very likely play more games. With stronger players around him, his game could thrive.

"I think you can do more with Evidence because he is a player with the right qualities, and he is young,” said the Belgium tactician Broos.

“You can do more with Evidence because he is a guy with qualities, and he is young, but you must teach him how he has to run, control the ball, how he needs to take up a position in front of the goal. I can't do that."

In a matter of two days, after a sustained period of inactivity, Pirates and their Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs have moved into the transfer market with a vengeance. Chiefs have admittedly been on a greater spending spree, but Pirates were not too far behind.

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Cameroonian Bienvenu Eva Nga and the 19-year-old Azola Matrose were signed from Chippa United. Bienvenu Eva Nga was the DStv Premiership's third-highest scorer, and he'll be a force in Pirates’ attack,

Matrose is likely to return to Chippa for a loan spell and that ensures he'll enjoy more game time in the elite league.

The well-travelled midfielder Miguel Timm, signed from Marumo Gallants, brings some firepower to the side's engine room. He has played for five different Premiership clubs in the past 12 years.

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While the Buccaneers welcomed the new recruits, six players made their way through the exit door. They are Kwanda Mngonyama, Abel Mabaso, Justice Chabalala, Elson Sithole, Wayne Sandilands and Thabang Monare, who could not agree to the terms offered for a new contract.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper Sandilands who has played more than 250 Premiership games may be offered a coaching role at the club. Most of the players released were not part of the team's plans for the new season.

One concern is that since Pirates are still without a head coach. When he is eventually appointed, he'll have to settle for a squad in which he had no say in the selection.

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A few days earlier, Pirates also snapped up Tapelo Xoki (AmaZulu) and Nkosinathi Sibisi (Golden Arrows).

Also leaving the club is Terrence Dzvukamanja, the Zimbabwean who did not enjoy much game time at Pirates. His departure opens the way for signing another foreigner. Speculation is rife that Joseph Amoah, a Ghanian midfielder who has been plying his trade in Portugal for the past four seasons, is on Pirates' radar.

Two other foreigners are in Pirates' sights. They are Daniel Dioh, a defensive midfielder, and striker Jesse Francis, both from Nigeria. Mamelodi Sundowns have also shown interest in the Nigerian duo.

After the departure of Fadlu Davids, co-coach Mandla Ncikazi remains part of the technical team and will likely serve as an assistant to the new coach. Names that have been linked to the vacant post include Gavin Hunt, Benni McCarthy, Ruud Krol, Dan Malesela and Spaniard Pablo Martin, who has just ended his stay at Simba FC, a club based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


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