Mthembu turns the corner


Back in August 2008, Mthembu was finally registered with Orlando Pirates after a tug-of-war between Bucs and their rivals, Kaizer Chiefs. At the time, Mthembu was described as exceptional, but, until this campaign, the 26-year-old had failed to justify the hype.

Fast forward to 2013 and the Melmoth-born striker is slowly but surely making headway with five goals to date this term. His current mentor says Mthembu needed to change ‘one thing’ to finally get going.

Freese reveals: "When I spoke to Siphelele at the time when he arrived at the club (at the start of the 2012/13 season), I told him to fix one thing; stop the ball (hold on to the ball or control it)… He couldn’t control the ball and as a top striker, sometimes you have to stop the ball to allow your teammates to get into the game.

"When Siphelele stops the ball, [Mogakolodi] Ngele starts to play, Robert [Ng'ambi] starts to play and the wingers start to play. So that’s what I mean. He’s doing that well now and he can even turn on his own, and a have a shot at goal.”

For his recent efforts, Mthembu was called up to the Bafana Bafana squad that played Zimbabwe in a friendly international on September 10 at Orlando Stadium and was given a run for 45 minutes.

"I’m very encouraged by that and I’m happy he was called up to the national team,” Freese adds. 

Mthembu's stats

Season Club Starts Goals
08/09 Pirates 12 (+12 subs) 6
09/10 Pirates 8 (+10 subs) 0
10/11 Celtc 12 (+7 subs) 6
11/12 Arrows 0 (+2 subs) 0
12/13 P Stars 9 (+9 subs) 4
13/14 P Stars 9 5