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The downfall of Orlando Pirates this season

Written By Themba Khumalo on Friday, January 24, 2014 | Friday, January 24, 2014

Roger de Sa (RDS) has let the team down by continuing playing erratic, out of form, unimpressive, uninspiring and exhausted Senzo Meyiwa. Orlando Pirates fans have lost confidence in Senzo Meyiwa but the coach still believes in Senzo Meyiwa potential. Senzo will remain RDS’ number 1 keeper after his bravery performance in Lubumbashi against TP Mazembe which saved the job of the coach.

RDS lacks defence organisational skills. His defence is always caught off guard playing line defence especial Lucky Lekgwathi and Ayanda Ngcaba. The two central pair lacks effective communication amongst themselves. They enjoy playing line defence to dismantle the proper defensive structure of libero (sweeper) and central defender marking the striker. The line defence is built under the tactical philosophy of an injury to one is an injury to all. If aerial ball passes Lekgwathi, it would also pass Ngcaba due to poor defensive techniques informed by line defence. RDS even today has not figure out the tactical blunder of the line defence. Lekgwathi and Ngcaba are Strong in the tackle and but not commanding in the air.

Thabo Matlaba and Happy Jele marauding runs from full left and right backs are a good avenue of attack for Orlando Pirates. They make far more runs forward than any other full backs in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) back. They play more like a right and left  attackers than right back and left back, and always delivers a dangerous cross or final ball. They have fantastic attacking abilities but the duo are suspect of leaking goals under pressure as they always  jogs back to defend from the offensive moves.  Pirates is always vulnerable under counter attack at both left or right back.

The engine room of the team is effectively in attack and defense.  The team leading goalscorer in the PSL is Oupa Manyisa from engine room but the team lacks traditional trequartistas (play-maker) to make things happen. Manyisa is not a traditional player despite having offensive ability. The team lacks traditional play maker in the mould of Steve Leokelela, Teko Modise, Gento Kampala, the late Ernest ‘’Botsotso’’ Makhanya. Sifiso Myeni has been assigned a role of play maker but already failed to fulfil all requirement of playmaker due to his on and off form but the overlooked Mpho Makola has all the ingredients to be successful play maker in the team.

The wing play of Pirates always blows hot and cold but Daine Klate has remained consistency throughout the year whilst Tlou Segolela form is too erratic. Aubrey Ngoma and Khetho Masuku are not given sufficient game times to make changes.

Lone striker tactics is not yielding avalanches of goals. Against Platinum Stars, RDS deployed false 9 syterm which produced goals but now Kermit Erasmus is playing in the box as lone striker than dropping too deep to initiate attacking moves. Kermit Erasmus is slowly but surely moving back to ineffective lone striker tactics which befit Lennox Bacela style of play. The lone striker tactics is one of the biggest Pirates downfalls going forward.

Conclusion
Favouritism by team coach Roger de Sa is slowly but surely killing the team fighting spirit and morale in the camp. RDS selects players based on reputation than merits whilst side-lining key players such as Tlou Segolela and Mpho Makola who have an ability to turn the corner. It is sad that the R5 million record fees international Goalkeeper Fatau Dauda has been ignored for ineffective Senzo Meyiwa whilst Sifiso Myeni deserves a decent break occupying the famous Mark Mayambela seat on the grandstand.

The blame for poor form should be directed to both players and coach.

By Owen Mundalamo

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