orlando pirates mbatha

Irvin Khoza. Image: TSA

OPINION: Orlando Pirates address the biggest weakness in their squad

What a smart piece of business.

orlando pirates mbatha

Irvin Khoza. Image: TSA

Orlando Pirates have reinforced the weakest area of their squad and they didn’t even need to sign anybody to do so.

Monyane signs improved terms with the Buccaneers

Regular Pirates right-back Thabiso Monyane was on the verge of seeing his contract expire. However, the Buccaneers have moved swiftly to extend their terms. The popular opinion is that right-back is an area which requires improvement at the club, but Monyane’s experience is vital. Right now, 24-year-old Monyane is the incumbent with his namesake Thabiso Lebitso the more marauding, forward-thinking option on that side of defence. Lebitso is 32, however, so time isn’t on his side and the board clearly see Monyane as the long-term holder of the position. With Bandile Shandu the only other alternative, it’s an area of relative weakness in Jose Riveiro’s domestic double-winning side. However, new-and-improved terms for a player of Monyane’s relative inexperience is a huge vote of confidence and should only benefit the player.

“Yes, apparently it’s a three-year contract. According to the records we have his current contract could have expired this month, but now he will be at the team until June 2027. He has the experience now and with the other players in his position it’s good for the team as they will be playing in the CAF Champions League and they need experienced players in all departments. So, yes it’s a three-year deal and everything is happy at the moment,” said a source to Soccer-Laduma.

Orlando Pirates Monyane
Orlando Pirates star Thabiso Monyane celebrates a goal against Sekhukhune United. Image: BackpagePix

Thabiso Monyane player profile

Although not naturally attack-minded, he did manage a goal and an assist from 19 league appearances this term. His compact frame (Monyane stands at 1.67m tall) helps him to be more mobile up and down his flank. In many ways, he’s the textbook option for that role. Not unnecessarily flashy, but gets the job done.

Goalkeeping depth in abundance

The Sea Robbers are fresh off a domestic cup double. Sipho Chaine starred for Riveiro’s men in the recent Nedbank Cup final win over Sundowns, saving a Lucas Ribeiro penalty. His understudy for the number 1 role is Melusi Buthelezi, and the potential arrival of Nigeria and Chippa star Stanley Nwabali would mean Pirates have serious riches in the goalkeeping position.

Strikers galore, an embarrassment of riches

Orlando Pirates had the luxury of releasing Kermit Erasmus and Zakhele Lepasa could follow him out the door. The reason? They’ve already got Tshegofatso Mabasa and Evidence Makgopa competing for the central striker’s role. How many clubs in South Africa have such depth in the final third?

Do you think Monyane is a top-class right-back option?

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