Orlando Pirates’ recent triumphs in the Nedbank Cup and MTN8 have undoubtedly solidified their position as one of the most formidable teams in the Premier Soccer League.
As the Buccaneers prepare to return to the Caf Champions League next season, Jose Riveiro knows that the need to strengthen his squad has become a crucial aspect of their strategy.
Achieving domestic glory this season has showcased the strength and resilience of the Pirates squad, but the challenges that lie ahead in the Champions League will demand an even higher level of performance.
The Champions League is a gruelling competition that demands physical prowess, tactical acumen, and mental fortitude.
To navigate through the intense fixtures, Pirates can not only rely on their existing core of talented players but also seek to bolster their squad with new signings who possess the necessary experience. SSNEWS takes a look at who Riveiro should turn to.
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Ranga Chivaviro (Marumo Gallants)
The Buccaneers are returning to the Caf Champions League this season and they need all the experience that they can get. Yes, they have the likes of Kermit Erasmus who have tasted continental football both with club and national team, but the vast majority of the team have never played in African competitions.
Monnapule Saleng is a great player, but you can only expect him to carry the team to a certain point, and with Thembinkosi Lorch’s uncertain future given his battles with the law, Riveiro might have to turn to Chivavivo for Caf experience as the 30-year-old fired Marumo Gallants to the Confederation Cup semi-finals this season.
Junior Mendieta (Cape Town City)
Mendieta has been the talk of the town since he arrived in the country in 2020. Stellenbosch FC discovered the Argentine gem and are desperately trying to hold on to him. But this might be the season that Mendieta moves to Gauteng, where Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Pirates are knocking.
He is spoiled for choice. You must know that if you are linked with the big three all at the same time – there is something right that you are doing. However, given his style of play, he would be a better fit at the Buccaneers. Pirates play fast and dynamic football, which is exactly how Mendieta plays. This one is a no-brainer as far as style of play is concerned.
Kamohelo Mahlatsi (Kaizer Chiefs)
This might be a less popular choice. But using the same rationale as Mendieta above – Mahlatsi’s style of football would best fit Pirates more than any other team. He finds himself at Amakhosi warming up the bench when he was expected to set the scene alight.
When he was at SuperSport United and the University of Pretoria, Mahlatsi was the talk of the town, with some likening his direct style of play to Pirates and Chiefs legend Jabu Mahlangu. Mahlatsi finds himself at the wrong team and at the wrong time. Pirates must pounce on this rough diamond.
Thabo Nodada (Cape Town City)
While Pirates have some great midfielders, it would be worth their while if they were to bolster their squad in that department. Nodada has all the experience and know-how. He plays with such maturity and is a leader in his own right. As the Sea Robbers are heading to the Champions League, they need more personnel.
Given that Riveiro’s side would want to hold on to their Nedbank Cup and MTN8 while at the same time look to challenge Sundowns for league honours – they will need to open the chequebook and sign a couple of players because what they currently have might not sustain them the entire campaign.
Celimpilo Ngema (Marumo Gallants)
The influential midfielder is certainly one of the many players that Gallants are going to lose after they find themselves relegated from the PSL into the National First Division. Ngema has been one of the standout performers for Marumo in the Caf Confederation Cup where they reached the semi-finals.
He might be heavily linked with a move to AmaZulu, but surely the Buccaneers cannot allow a player of that quality to move to Usuthu without trying to hijack the move. As Pirates, you don’t need much to convince players to join you, particularly given the kind of season that they had. Ngema is the kind of midfielder Pirates need to better their squad for next season.
Andile Jali (Free agent)
Just like how Erasmus’ move from Mamelodi Sundowns revived his career, the same could happen for Jali. Their path is quite similar. They both made names for themselves at the Buccaneers before pursuing careers abroad. Jali and Erasmus both found themselves making big money moves to Sundowns, but in the end, they were spat out like sugarless bubblegum.
Erasmus was the first to move and his arrival at the Buccaneers has seen him become an instant hit with the fans and the coaching staff. The former Cape Town City striker won two trophies this season, and Jali needs to do the same. Go back to a team that loves and currently needs him.
Orlando Pirates head Coach José Riveiro stated that he needs more players in his squad but he also stated that he needs players who are more attacking minded as the team is more covered defensively.