orlando pirates mbatha

Irvin Khoza. Image: TSA

Orlando Pirates unveil new technical team member

Stepping stones towards a title charge?

orlando pirates mbatha

Irvin Khoza. Image: TSA

Orlando Pirates have snapped up a new technical team member in the shape of performance analyst Devin O’Brien.

Big changes in the Orlando Pirates’ technical setup

Sergio Almenara and Miguel Bellver left the club for personal reasons. Assistant coach Almenara confirmed his departure after the Nedbank Cup win over Sundowns. The Buccaneers did hint at wholesale changes after the completion of the 2023-2024 season and now we’re seeing that come to fruition. Devin O’Brien arrives from Stellenbosch after the Winelands side narrowly lost out to Pirates for second place and CAF Champions League qualification slot. Stellies won their first-ever piece of silverware by claiming the Carling Knockout crown.

“The Club – with consultation of the head coach – will look to use this offseason break to find a suitable replacement/s as well as bolster the backroom staff in the technical, analysis, medical and conditioning departments,” they stated via iDiskiTimes.

Intel: @lorenz_ko / X

Playing personnel also undergoing changes

Last season’s Golden Boot winner bagged 16 goals in the league. It would initially appear crazy to sell a player of his calibre, but if a massive offer from a wealthy suitor comes in, the Buccaneers board may think it’s the right time to sell the 27-year-old. His current deal expires in June but, according to transfermarkt, there’s a two-year extension option included. The popular website believes Mabasa’s value to be around €1.3 million, approximately R25 million. With rumoured interest from across Europe, the club won’t struggle to fetch a fee in this region for the red-hot marksman. If they play their cards right, they can extract considerably more money from the sale.

Orlando Pirates Evidence Makgopa
Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro on why striker Evidence Makgopa is good for Bafana Bafana. Image source: (VodacomSoccer/Twitter)

Are Ndlondlo and others next out the door?

Soccer-Laduma suggests that attacking midfielder Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo may leave Pirates during or before the pre-season tour to Europe. The compact playmaker has become a peripheral figure, featuring 19 times in the league last term, with two assists.Lesedi Kapinga, Monnapule Saleng, Deon Hotto and Vincent Pule could all depart the club, perhaps leaving them slightly light in that area. Maybe another wide attacker is an important area to target? If Hotto leaves, they might also need a new versatile left-sided option or an out-and-out left-back.

Deon Hotto Orlando Pirates
Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership 2023/24 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 11 November 2023 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Can the Sea Robbers mount a sustained title challenge and usurp Sundowns next season?