Richard Ofori Pirates

Richard Ofori of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Ofori likely to miss out on Soweto derby after injury in Accra

Richard Ofori is likely to miss the Soweto Derby fixture against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday 21 March after picking up an injury.

Richard Ofori Pirates

Richard Ofori of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates have been plunged deeper into a goalkeeping crisis that threatens to derail their season after Richard Ofori was stretchered off during their 0-0 draw against ES Setif in Accra, Ghana.

Ofori, who joined the club in the off season from Maritzburg United, is only expected to be out for two weeks despite requiring a stretcher to leave the field on Wednesday evening.

Richard Ofori out for two weeks with suspected groin injury

The concern is that Orlando Pirates face a crunch Confederation Cup match against Enyimba next week before a Soweto Derby fixture on Saturday 21 March.

Orlando Pirates have two candidates to replace Ofori between the sticks and both have plenty of experience but neither has enjoyed very much game-time this season.

Siyabonga Mpontshane has only had run-outs in the Caf Confederation Cup and the Nedbank Cup and is yet to enjoy any minutes in the DStv Premiership.

Veteran stopper Wayne Sandilands has started five Premiership fixtures this term but hasn’t played since Orlando Pirates 2-0 loss to Black Leopards on 17 January.

Ofori has been in goal for all three of the previous meetings with Kaizer Chiefs this season conceding just one goal in the Soweto Derby clashes this season.

Orlando Pirates likely to split duty between two reserves

Orlando Pirates are likely to entrust Sandilands with the pressure of keeping goal in the derby given his experience in that particular fixture. Sandilands has kept just one clean sheet in five DStv Premiership fixtures this season and has become increasingly error-prone in the latter stages of his career.

Josef Zinnbauer may very well entrust the gloves to Mpontshane for the key group stage Confederation Cup clash with Enyimba on 17 March. Pirates can leapfrog the Nigerian club into first place in Group A. Enyimba inflicted a shock defeat on Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly yesterday to establish themselves as the early pacesetters in what promises to be a very tough group.

Mpontshane’s only start this season came in Orlando Pirates second leg Confederation Cup playoff match against Botswana’s Janeng Galaxy. The 34-year-old goalkeeper kept a clean sheet as Orlando Pirates won 1-0 and progressed with a 4-0 aggregate win.

It seems as though Zinnbauer had planned to use Mpontshane as a backup to Ofori in the cup and continental competitions while 37-year-old Sandilands deputised in the Premiership. 

Pirates also have injury concerns elsewhere on the park with Thembinkosi Lorch still sidelined.