Pirates' midfield dilemma: Who to start?
Posted: 5 July 2018 Time: 19:30
As Orlando Pirates prepare themselves for a new season after last term’s impressive campaign, competition for places in midfield is even harder than it was last season.
With the signings of Ben Motshwari and Abel Mabaso ahead of the new campaign, coach Micho Sredojevic and his assistant Rhulani Mokwena will have a tough time trying to pick who should start week in and out.
So, who should start in midfield? Or rather, can anybody break the solid partnership between Xola Mlambo and Musa Nyatama?
Joined the Buccaneers halfway through last season and did not waste time in forming a solid partnership with Nyatama. He is a creative midfielder with skill, but that does not mean he does not know how to grind. He can win the ball if required and close down the opposition’s deadly midfielders. It will be difficult leaving him out.
He was arguably Pirates’ best player last season, making his presence felt the very moment he was given an opportunity to play. Nyatama is a proper box-to-box midfielder who often found himself in good positions in the opposition's danger area. He is likely to be one of the first names in the coach’s starting line-up.
He had an oustanding season with Chippa United last term, playing in the holding midfield role which he previously played in during his time in Mamelodi Sundowns’ development. Mabaso, who has played most of his career in the PSL as a defender, gives the club options in central midfield because he can defend and attack. He chipped in with some valuable goals for the Chilli Boys last season.
He struggled for game-time at Bidvest Wits last season and it won’t get any easier at Pirates. He is a direct player who works tirelessly in the centre of the park. Time will tell if he can do enough to break into the team.
He is back home in Soweto and he’s just itching to get an opportunity to shine in the famous black and white of Pirates. Mntambo is a good player to have in the team because he chips in with goals from midfield. A serious contender for a starting berth.
Word is that Mpho Makola may be deemed surplus to requirements, because of the competition in his position. He has served Pirates well, but his time may have just come to an end.
Another player who is set for an exit is Issa Sarr, as Bucs look to trim their squad before the campaign gets underway. The Senegalese midfielder has too much to compete with and would get more game-time elsewhere.
His chances of playing are slim and word is that he could be on his way out at the club. He struggled with injury early last season and could not get into the team when he recovered. Micho has never said Siyabonga Sangweni is not in his plans, but he’s never really shown a desire to want to play him either.