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Renewed hope for Gladwin Shitolo at Orlando Pirates

Posted: 5 December 2016 Time: 19:26

Augusto Palacios maintains that selection into the Orlando Pirates starting eleven will remain based on performance, throwing a lifeline to Gladwin Shitolo who put in a solid shift over the weekend.

Shitolo was thrown in for his first start and responded by standing firm in central midfield in the absence of the injured Oupa Manyisa as the Bucs drew 2-2 with Highlands Park. Prior to his first start on Saturday night against Highlands Park Shitolo had come off the bench thrice, yet after impressing the caretaker coach, Shitolo could be in for more gametime for the Bucs.

“I know Shitolo very well,” says Palacios.“I know him from the time that he was loaned to Golden Arrows. He is a hard worker and on Saturday he didn’t make mistakes, never lost one pass and with Issa [Sarr] he was supplemented well.

“One important thing you need to understand with me is that I believe in competition … I don’t believe in names. If the player performs then I will go with him. Mpho [Makola] and Oupa were injured and the performance from Shitolo means you cannot put him out. This needs to be clear that selection is based on performance.

“I like players who are committed to the team. If you have the opportunity, use it. Football for me is not about names, I don’t care about players in the national team or coming from overseas. I don’t look into that, but the performance of the player.”

READ: Palacios content despite inconsistencies

Palacios says he will not dish out any favours to anyone in the team.

“I am here at Pirates to do my job and not favour any player, no matter where they are coming from,” he continued. “I will still give players a chance. If a new player comes in and does well then the other one must wait; right now there is a queue of players who want to play.

"I have been long in this country and I know South African players: one thing is that when a player is not playing regularly it affects his private life and training. When we are camping on Friday I don’t tell the players who is in the team - everyone needs to bring his bag.

"I don’t give away the line-up on Friday because players need to be surprised so that they perform, but I am very happy with Shitolo today. It is good competition.”

Shitolo will hope to retain his starting berth when Pirates line up against Maritzburg United on 13 December.

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Article by: Lovemore Moyo
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