Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa is facing a defensive crisis at Bucs ahead of the league clash at Orlando Stadium Saturday night against Bloemfontein Celtic.
1. Rooi 'Ngubo' Mahamutsa is nursing an injury he suffered against SSU in Attredgville where he dislocated his elbow. The medical reports released to the media by the team initially said Mahamutsa will only miss the Maritzburg United clash.
2. Siyabonga Sangweni and Patrick Phungwayo are on long term injuries.
3. Happy Jele will be suspended for the Celtic clash and that leaves Bheki Ndzunga as an option for the right back. Many will argue Ndzunga's capabilities since the Meluti Saga but the last time the lad played an official competitive game was In Lubumbashi against TP Mazembe where captain Lucky Lekgwathi was red carded in the first 20 minutes of the game.
My talking point in the Pirates defense crises stems from last season when coach Roger de Sa was appointed. The first thing the coach did was to drop Lekgwathi and opted for the Sangweni-Mahamutsa combination in the heart of our defense.
The combination was working well until Mahamutsa suffered a torn achilles injury which kept him out for almost the whole of last season.The captain was brought back in to partner Sangweni. They did well until Sangweni Suffered a long term knee injury fortunately Mahamutsa was back so he stepped in to partner Lekgwathi.
This season the captain was on the starting berth until Sangweni recovered. He was dropped like a hot potato to be replaced by Sangweni who found himself nursing torn achilles within two games of his return.
The Captain was sidelined because of his controversial media outburst where he claimed he doesn't blame the coach for his exclusion; he knows there are sinister forces who are out to get him... so Gcaba had to step in to partner Mahamutsa in the heart of defense.
Jele was suspended for the 2nd leg of the Final in Cairo the team had no choice but to call the captain back to the squad. We lost the final and had a week's break of FIFA Calendar. Our first game after the CAF Final was the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout. Lekgwathi was on the bench but came in later to replace Mahamutsa who dislocated his elbow.
Now you know it’s not easy to coach a big team like Pirates. There are many challenges on n off the field... Roger That!
By Philani Madonsela
Twitter: @diskioff [www.twitter.com/diskioff]