Orlando Pirates Football Club
Nickname: The Buccaneers, The Sea Robbers, Ezimnyama Ngenkani
Home Ground: Orlando Stadium, Soweto; Gauteng (40, 000)
Coach: Eric Tinkler
2014/15 League Finish: 4th
Star Players To Watch: Tshepo Gumede, Thabo Matlaba, Oupa Manyisa, Thabo Rakhale, Sifiso Myeni
Young Guns To Watch: Felipe Ovono, Gift Motupa, Menzi Masuku, Zukile Mkhize
The Grand Stand View
A strong club playing ideology and ethos makes the compilation of a squad easier for the gaffer, as he knows concisely what the organisation as a whole demands from him and his charges; not only does a clear playing ideology and mandate make one’s life easier when it comes to setting and assessing targets for the team, it also makes player recruitment a far less daunting task as the standards are known to all responsible for talent acquisition. Orlando Pirates are renowned for having an extensive scouting network that affords them the opportunity to pick up emerging or unknown talents at a fraction of the market average, and this practice has aided them in developing and monitoring the progress of the players without the pressure of a large price tag or the media expectations and frenzy that accompany a wunderkind. As a transfer policy, it has its obvious benefits, but this “buy them cheap, sell them steep” policy has begun to hurt the development of young academy graduates within the club structure as they find their paths to first team football blocked by older lads that were bought to add to the roster or farm out on loan in an attempt to get them regular game time.
The on-field performances of the side during parts of last season have shown that the club will need to reshuffle their pack and maybe even tweak their playing system if they are to fulfil the potential within the squad and ensure that they return to title winning ways relatively soon. There is an incredible amount of experience within the Orlando Pirates first team squad and the gaffer will have to supplement that experience with some younger and hungrier footballers if Bucs are to show their pedigree for a consistent period throughout the season and prove that they do have the squad depth and quality to compete in all competitions without running out of steam. One cannot help but feel as if Orlando Pirates are far stronger than they were last season as a football club, Eric Tinkler is now more experienced as a gaffer in the premier league and that all bodes well for the club as they seek to justify that they are far better than last season’s 4th place finish; the battle for the title promises to be an open and entertaining one this season and that could just play into the hands of The Sea Robbers as they seem to play their best football when they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.