Orlando Pirates lack of success in the Premiership has many of the club’s fans wondering if rather than when they will rule the country again.
It is nearly a decade since The Ghost last sat on top of the domestic scene. Last season, Pirates finished third and were surprisingly overtaken by Amazulu – coached by one-time Bucs’ forward Benni McCarthy – as the biggest threat to Mamelodi Sundowns’ dominance.
The likes of Thulani Hlatshwayo, Thabang Monare, and Deon Hotto were added to the Buccaneers roster but for all their star quality the team still finished 17 points behind the winners.
Only 13 wins from 30 fixtures also tells a story of how far off the pace.
McCarthy heaped the pressure onto Pirates’ technical team ahead of the new seaosn.
“Listen‚ I think Pirates had a disappointing season to their standards‚ with all the signings they made‚ collecting a lot of top-class players from Bidvest Wits‚ and not being able to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns for the title,” McCarthy told the media recently.
“Or challenge me‚ at AmaZulu‚ for second place. So‚ yes‚ by their standards it’s a bit of a disappointing season.”
Vincent Pule, who shared the club’s player of the season award with Hotto, and Tshegofatso Mabaso remain the biggest threats. Pule netted nine times with Mabaso finding the back eight times.
Key to providing goal-scoring opportunities for Pule, Mabaso and Hotto will be the form and fitness of Thembinkosi Lorch. It appears likely that the winger will not be lured away from the Mayfair club and should he remain fit, he poses a significant threat with every touch.
The Bucs have a star-studded lineup with attacking options in abundance and in Richard Ofori, they have a goalkeeper as good as any in the league.
Goodman Mosele, Monnapule Saleng, Bandile Shandu and Kwanda Mngonyama have all joined the club giving them numerous options.
Pirates are defending their MTN8 title, a trophy that ended six long years without silverware, in the upcoming season. But the fans arguably deserve more.
The squad is littered with stars and is capable of wrestling the league crown away from Sundowns. To do this, they must start the season like Sundowns have become accustomed to finishing it.