Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer has explained why the club signed Thabang Monare and warned that he won't walk into the starting line-up despite his natural ability.
Monare, 31, completed his move to Pirates on Wednesday morning, signing a two-year contract with the Soweto giants after opting not to join Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) after their takeover of Bidvest Wits.
The tireless midfielder appears to have been a straight swap in the Buccaneers set-up for his former teammate Xola Mlambo who was released last week as Zinnbauer looked to streamline his squad.
But the German, who led Pirates to third-place in the 2019/20 season after arriving in December admits he's well short of match fitness to walk into the team and warned him of the competition he will face.
With several players in the squad able to feature in central midfield, the 2016/17 league winner will be aiming to state his case to Zinnbauer in training over the coming weeks.
"Monare is a good signing but the same problems as others after not training for like five weeks, alone yes but not with the team. What he needs now is conditioning, if you don't have that you can't play," he said ahead of their MTN8 clash with Cape Town City.
"This is what we have to work on with him, starting from now. We know he's a top player with a lot of experience to help us in Africa and in the league this season. But he's not the only player in the squad, we have many good players and he needs to fight for a position in the starting line-up."
Scroll through the gallery to see Zinnbauer's midfield options at Pirates for the 2020/21 season
The 50-year-old also eluded to the rest of the squad after the coronavirus pandemic altered the schedule of the upcoming campaign, with only three weeks pre-season preparation before the season opener against the Citizens.
"Normally you have another type of pre-season, this one is short close to three weeks, this is not enough for a normal pre-season. But we have all the same rules, we have the same times as other clubs, plus-minus one or two days," he explained.
"It's not like a normal pre-season but we do what we can and we have a good feeling at the moment. We improve little more with the structure with the ball and without the ball we've improved our positioning and that's important.
"It hasn't been enough time but we can never say it's not enough, all coaches want more time in pre-season - but we are feeling good."