The situation regarding Orlando Pirates goalkeeping department is much more bigger than injuries and this is is something the club needs to work on fast.
At the moment, Pirates are relying on young shot-stopper Elson Sithole as the second choice goalkeeper to veteran Wayne Sandilands while Richard Ofori and Siyabonga Mpontshane are nursing injuries.
The big issue though is, Pirates have reached the quarterfinals of the Caf Confederation Cup and it’s too late to register the young goalkeeper in the competition.
On Wednesday, the Buccaneers had to travel to Nigeria without a second goalkeeper in their 1-0 loss to Enyimba in the last game of Group A.
Anything could have happened in that match and despite an injury, Sandilands might have gotten a red card and the club was going to be forced to use an outfield player as a keeper. I just wonder who could have got between the sticks had something happened because Happy Jele was absent for the match, he has done it before.
Anyway, it’s a good thing that Sandilands managed to finish the game.
But, there is no clue when Ofori or Mpontshane will be back to full fitness. Ofori got injured in the club’s Caf game against ES Setif during the first leg, and ironically, Mpontshane also suffered an injury in a match against the same team in the second leg.
The Mgosi squad recently learnt that the club’s goalkeeping crisis is not about to end with Ofori rumoured to have attracted interests from overseas, while Sandilands, who is 38-years old is looking to hang his boots. Mpontshane, meanwhile, is about to see his contract end in June and nothing has been communicated to him regarding an extension.
Should all this happen, it will be a huge blow for Josef Zinnbauer who has been working on building a formidable side and having a consistent starting XI.
But, another thing is that Pirates have allegedly signed Siyabonga Mbatha of AmaZulu FC, who is believed to be a suitable replacement for Sandilands.
In the last couple of days, we’ve also learnt that King Ndlovu has terminated his contract with Black Leopards and he is on his way to the Buccaneers.
Many Bucs fans would be crossing their fingers that these deals do transpire, with both Mbatha and Ndlovu having stood the test of time in the South African top-flight league.
Throwing the young Sithole in the deep end would work out or might not, but at the moment a tried and tested shot-stopper is what the club needs.
But, at the moment, Zinnbauer will just have to pray that both Ofori and Mpontshane recover so that they could wrap up the season, especially since he really needs them for the continental tournament.