“Pirates’ Right Back Situation & How To Fix It” – Reader’s Voice
Orlando Pirates have played Thabo Matlaba at right back for the past two matches, leaving a player more naturally suited to the position, Thembela Sikhakhane, on the bench for both outings. However, he came on in the second half last on Wednesday night for the injured Marc Van Heerden and Matlaba moved to the left. Then Sikhakhane showed why the coach had left him on the bench.
His tackles were easily skipped over, he was getting bullied in challenges and his final ball was wasteful. The only thing productive about his play was the blistering pace he possesses.
His situation is a tough one for any coach to manage, as he was so fantastic in the colours of Golden Arrows last season and one feels he’s still adjusting to his surroundings. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until he gets back to that level. His main competition for the position, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, is no better, as he’s proven for years that he’s not of the required level at Pirates.
However, a team like the Bucs can afford the best players and there are two right backs, who seem destined to rot on the bench even with their star qualities - Mamelodi Sundowns’ Siyanda Zwane and Asavela Mbekile, who have been replaced by Thapelo Morena and Anele Ngcongca. The two were pivotal as Downs won the Champions League last year and would add value at the Parktown based side.
Pirates cannot get replacements between now and the end of the season but they can start drawing up their shortlist.
*This article was written by a Soccer Laduma reader and reflects their opinion, not that of Soccer Laduma.