What is Orlando Pirates’ current best eleven? With the Buccaneers already active in the transfer market, the situation is murky.
Let’s examine Jose Riveiro’s numerous tactical and personnel options because once he settles on a system and a few core players, we should see Pirates shoot up the table. Their squad is simply too talented to be mired in the middle of the pack.
Even before the acquisition of Craig Martin, the Buccaneers possessed a deep midfield. Miguel Timm is undoubtedly the first-choice holding player and he’s got capable backup in the form of Ben Motshwari. Goodman Mosele is a top prospect at just 23, while Fortune Makaringe offers plenty of versatility and tactical smartness. How does Riveiro balance all of these possibilities? Bear in mind he must also slot in star playmaker Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo. The formation must essentially be built around the ex-Gallants schemer and Timm, the conductor of the Pirates orchestra.
Pirates Mamelodi Sundowns star Andile Jali adores Orlando Pirates’ Nbabayithethwa Ndlondlo. Don’t we all? Image: @SoccerLaduma / Twitter.
The Spanish boss has tinkered with his side consistently, initially option for three at the back at the start of the season but he’s also trialled a 4-4-2 and even a 4-1-2-1-2 midfield diamond.
The ever-dependable and versatile Deon Hotto, nominally a wide-man on the left, often fills in wherever he is needed, most notably at left wing-back when Riveiro optS for a 3-4-3. No matter which system is employed, Hotto plays.
There are just so many attackers at the club, that he might be tempted to revert to a 3-4-3 in order to accommodate two strikers in his starting 11. Either way, there will be plenty of top quality players spending a lot of time on the bench. None of Zakhele Lepasa, Kermit Erasmus or Ndumiso Mabena are guarenteed a starting berth.
Ofori; Ndah, Sibisi, Maela; Monyane, Timm, Ndlondlo, Hotto; Lepasa, Erasmus, Saleng
The depth at Riveiro’s disposal feels like a hindrance rather than a help, but with time it can become his biggest asset.
Meanwhile, you can get more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game from James Freemant