Orlando Pirates set to challenge for honours after outstanding transfer business

The new acquisitions the Buccaneers have made have all settled in well already and the club is looking good to end their six-year wait for a trophy

There have been some false dawns for Orlando Pirates in the last few years but there is surely good reason now for Bucs fans to be optimistic.

The club has not won silverware for six years although they have come close to winning the league title several times in the last couple of seasons, not to mention having suffered defeat in several cup finals, including the Champions League, Confederation Cup and the Nedbank Cup.

Now, as the transfer window in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) nears its closing point, an analysis of Pirates’ transfer business suggests the Buccaneers should be ready to make a serious challenge for silverware this season.

Already we’ve seen the difference their new recruits have made – at the back, goalkeeper Richard Ofori’s signing should prove massively influential. He is Ghana’s number one and is tried and tested in the PSL after three excellent seasons with Maritzburg United. A top shot-stopper, its Ofori’s presence in the box and his commanding personality which could make him so important.

And when adding Bafana Bafana skipper and central defender, Thulani Hlatshwayo, signed from Bidvest Wits, into the mix, it’s clear that the spine of the Pirates defence is rock solid.

Even more so when one looks at the early influence another new signing, also from Wits, Thabang Monare. He has impressed so far for Pirates in the midfield holding role, offering protection to the back four as well as his playmaking ability in attack.

A further two former Wits men, attacking duo Deon Hotto and Terrence Dzvukamanja, have also stood out with some superb early performances and seem to have settled in nicely already under head coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Another newbie who has done well is Wayde Jooste, who has been offering a fresh attacking dimension to the team from right back.

Collins Makgaka, the attacking midfielder signed from Baroka FC has also had a bit of game-time, meaning that all of Pirates’ new signings have already contributed and are feeling part of the setup.

That of course excludes Jean-Marc Makusu, who arrived at the club during the international break.

With an injury to last season’s top scorer, Gabadinho Mhango, as well as another marksman Tshegofatso Mabasa was also sidelined through injury, that had been one area of the pitch where Bucs had perhaps looked a little light.

In this respect, Makusu’s integration into the team could prove crucial this season and if the Zambian can deliver goals, the Sea Robbers will surely be a good bet for silverware, especially if the likes of Hotto, Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch and Fortune Makaringe can chip in with goals of their own from midfield.

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