Mokwena explains Bucs’ struggles

Orlando Pirates have to really step up their game to challenge for League honours this season and coach Rulani Mokwena believes they would turn the corner.

Bucs are now a whopping 15 points behind the log leaders Kaizer Chiefs after 11 matches.

Mokwena’s charges went down 3-2 to Chiefs at FNB Stadium at the weekend and afterwards, he offered an explanation on why Pirates have won just three of their 11 Absa Premiership this season.

“We’ve worked very hard on trying to build our style of play – our game model and it started, like you’ve rightly mentioned, with the previous head coach (Micho Sredojevic),” alluded Mokwena.

Bucs players will have to pick each other up to perform well once again.

“The difficulty has just been about introducing the new players and trying to adapt to the style of play, the environment and to rebuild in a way – it’s a new team.

“So, we understand the process and we understand what happened with our team. We know why we are where we are and we know the transition that took place,” Mokwena argued.

“You know when you unfortunately have to let go of 15 players and you bring in 10 players, of course there’s an adaptation (process) that needs to take place,” he said.

“Of course big clubs are judged by results and we know that. We are not going to step down from that, because the moment we step down from that, we lose our status as a big club,” stated Mokwena.

Mokwena reckons that the club’s supporters understand the team’s situation.

The ex Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach reckons that the technical team has the backing of the club’s management.

“But we are realistic and fortunately, our management understands football, and understands where we are and understands why we are where we are.

“And our supporters are football understanding people.

“But be that as it may, we’ve got to start turning these good performances into results,” Mokwena continued.

He’s buoyed by his belief that the Pirates players are doing everything they can to protect the integrity of the club.

“There’s a certain way that Orlando Pirates must lose football matches, but not by lying down and allowing opponents to bully them, and all of that.

“We don’t want to beat ourselves and when we lose, we lose to a better opponent… we don’t accept to be bullied over,” he said.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Downs missing 9 players

Mamelodi Sundowns will be missing at least nine players when they take on Golden Arrows this afternoon.

Abafana Bes’thende are hosting the Brazilians at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium (15:30).

Downs have confirmed that Emiliano Tade, Anthony Laffor and Lucky Mohomi (all knee rehabilitation), Themba Zwane (hamstring), Gaston Sirino (quadriceps strain), Tokelo Rantie (flu) and Phakamani Mahlambi (ankle rehabilitation) are sidelined through injuries.

Oupa Manyisa will be out until sometime next year an achilles tendon recently.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

SHOTS FIRED: Middendorp v Mokwena

When Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp left the room at the end of the Soweto Derby post match press conference at FNB Stadium on Saturday, he shook his head.

The German didn’t look too pleased with his counterpart coach Rulani Mokwena of Orlando Pirates.

Naturally, Middendorp would have been smiling, because his side had just won 3-2 to go ten points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership log.

But at the presser, it was clear from the onset that the derby clash had spilled over to the front of the rolling cameras.

The main issue centred around what Mokwena alleged was “thuggish behaviour” from the Chiefs players as well as the disputed penalty, which covered in a previous story titled ‘Mokwena, Parker and the swimming pool story’.

The facial expressions said it all.


Mokwena: “Yeah, it was a good advert for football, I think, if you minus all the drama and some of the thuggish behaviour then I think it’s a good advert for football; two very good teams going at each other,” said Mokwena, insisting that Chiefs players displayed a “thuggish behaviour” and that’s why Eric Mathoho was sent off. “But I hear coach Middendorp say he doesn’t know what happened with the red card. I’ve watched it again and I think it’s not just Mathoho that should have been sent off. It’s thuggish behaviour and it doesn’t belong on the pitch,” he insisted. “Even with (Willard) Katsande’s tackle on Fortune Makaringe in the first half… over the top, career threatening tackle and thuggish as well, you know. So those are some of the situations… those things don’t belong in South African football. I’ve got a player bleeding now, because he was punched on the face. Kaizer Chiefs is good enough to beat us on tactics, on personell, a well-coached team – excellent, but not on diving and not on thugging behaviour – not on boxing. On boxing, we don’t train boxing.”

In response, Middendorp suggested a few things. He mentioned that FIFA introduced yellow and red cards to deal with players who step out of line.

He also mentioned that in a match of this magnitude as the Soweto Derby, tensions could potentially rise.

Middendorp: “That is why, over the decades, the institution of FIFA introduced yellow cards, fouls, penalties and introduced all the stuff for when something happens. I think Fortune Makaringe and Katsande was quite a heavy duel, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not to deny, but I spoke to Eric and he said he was just on the way to really protect his own players – to protect the group going at each other and somebody fell part apart (referring to Abel Mabaso, who was pushed by Mathoho).

“… you’d see it probably in the Liverpool/Manchester City match (on Sunday) at 18:00 kick off… that’s a normal way, in particular if it’s a Derby.”

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Mokwena, Parker & the swimming pool story

Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena has suggested that Bernard Parker dived to win Kaizer Chiefs a penalty that proved decisive in Saturday’s Soweto Derby.

With eight minutes remaining, Parker was brought down by Paseka Mako with the two rivals deadlocked at 2-2.

Daniel Cardoso stepped up to convert the penalty for Chiefs’ 3-2 win.

In the post match press conference, the situation was tense between Mokwena and Chiefs mentor, Ernst Middendorp, to say the least.

Mokwena and Middendorp couldn’t agree on anything, including the penalty incident.

Mokwena insisted: “… Parker goes and gets a swimming pool (to dive in).

Mokwena is convinced that Parker dived to win the penalty.

“But we can’t talk too much about it. Like I said to you, I’ve gone inside (the dressing room) and I’ve watched it time and time again.”

Mokwena appeared to play the issue on Middendorp’s mind, urging the German to watch the incident again.

“My (video) analysts have shown me all the incidents and I know coach Ernst does his homework,” Mokwena continued.

“I know he’s gonna watch the (penalty) incident also and he’s honest and a man of integrity.

“I think he’s gonna accept some of the things that happened on the pitch, as a man of integrity and as an honest gentleman that I respect,” added Mokwena.

In response, Middendorp was adamant that Chiefs “fully deserved” the penalty.

Mokwena and Middendorp also disagreed on Eric Mathoho’s red card.

While Mokwena insisted that Mathoho and company displayed a “thuggish” behaviour, Middendorp said he had spoken to Mathoho, who insisted to him that he was protecting his teammates when a fought broke out towards the end of the match.

Mathoho was sent off late in the match for what appeared to be a push on Abel Mabaso.

Mathoho was sent off after the two sides clashed towards the end of the match.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

FULLTIME: Pirates 2-3 Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs have beaten Orlando Pirates in a five-goal thriller here at FNB Stadium.

Amakhosi’s goals came via an own goal by Bucs captain Ntsikelelo Nyauza, who failed to lead by example, scoring an own goal with just a minute into the match.

Leonardo Castro headed past Wayne Sandilands from a corner for Amakhosi’s second.

Chiefs players and supporters celebrate Castro’s goal, which was Chiefs’ second.

Not to be outdone, Bucs fought back and scored through Vincent Pule, who smashed in a free kick.

Gabadinho Mhango then drew Pirates level in the second half. He can be seen celebrating in the video below.

Chiefs had the final say…

They had a penalty with eight minutes to go and Daniel Cardoso fired home for the maximum points… and of course the bragging rights.

Daniel Cardoso was named Man of the Match.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

at FNB Stadium

Pirates XI v Chiefs

Orlando Pirates’ starting XI is out ahead of this afternoon’s clash against nemesis, Kaizer Chiefs.
In the absence of captain Happy Jele, it appears Pirates have opted for the combination of Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Innocent Maela at central defence.
Gabadinho Mhango will lead the attack and after scoring a brace in last week’s Telkom Knockout quarterfinal clash, the Bucs faithful will be banking on him to get the goals.

Pirates XI v Chiefs: Sandilands, Mabaso, Maela, Nyauza, Mako, Motshwari, Lorch, Mlambo, Mhango, Makaringe, Pule.

SUBS: Mpontshane, Chabalala, Ndlovu, Mntambo, Mabasa, Mulenga, Shonga.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa
at FNB Stadium

FNB Stadium in pristine condition

The battleground for Saturday’s Soweto Derby clash between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs is in top condition.

From the stands, it’s clear to see that Amakhosi and Bucs will be able to play their normal game.

The stage is set for battle at FNB Stadium.
The 94 000-seater venue is filling up ahead of the 15:30 kick off.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

at FNB Stadium

Doc backs Thembinkosi Lorch

SA football icon and former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Doctor Khumalo has come out in defence of Orlando Pirates star midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch and is backing the latter to bounce back and regain his form.

The Bucs forward has struggled to replicate the form of last season, which saw him walk away with the PSL Footballer of the Season award.

Although he did show glimpses of what he is capable of when on top of his game, in Bucs 2-2 draw (Bucs lost 4-2 on penalties) against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs last saturday with 2 assists in the Telkom Knockout quarter finals.

“I’d like to believe that every player goes through a phase in his career, so Lorch is probably exposed to that at the moment,” Khumalo told

“But he will bounce back, if we think the form is gone. But obviously having won the prestigious award, it puts a lot of pressure on an individual, but it’s how you react you know, that’s another vital way of doing it” Says Khumalo

The 1992 Footballer of the Year also shared his thoughts on what he feels Lorch needs to do to rediscover his form of last season and get back to scoring and creating goals for the Buccaneers and says it’s still premature to rule out Lorch this season.

Doc Khumalo believes Lorch will bounce back. In the Soweto Derby, perhaps?

“At the moment it would be unfair to point a finger of judging, you know. Lorch is still inexperienced in this, he will grow in all of this in terms of him realising how important it is, we all went through that phase.

“Slowly but surely he will realise and regain his form. But I don’t think it is fair for people to say he is done and dusted, no, no, no, no.

“I’d like to believe that personally, he’s just going through a phase and he will bounce back. And it’s not like he is 100% out, no no no. He will find himself and personally he will bounce back, mark my words.”

Lorch has scored only 1 goal so far this season in 10 games and 16v believes “Nyoso” raised the bar for himself last season and now people expected a lot from him this season

“It comes with the territory, you know. He did well for himself last season – raised the bar. Always when you achieve something, we always look up to you…. we always look up at what you will offer next,” concluded the former Bafana Bafana international.

Lorch will come up against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

By Shane Matsoyane

Maela dismisses revenge talk

Orlando Pirates defender Innocent Maela insists they are not looking for revenge when they take on Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The two teams met in the Telkom Knockout Quarterfinal in Durban last weekend with Chiefs emerging victorious via a penalty shoot-out.

Chiefs are high in confidence having lost just once in their 10 league games, while the Bacaneers have won just three games this season.

“Obviously as Orlando Pirates we always want to win. We are disappointed that we are out of the Telkom Knockout now but we have the league to play for and we just want to collect as many points as possible,” said Maela.

“We have recovered from the Telkom Knockout elimination but it’s a different match this time around. But you are right it was disappointing not getting anything out of the match knowing that we played so well.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a revenge match all I can say our focus is to go there and make sure we give it our all. We must make sure we implement the tactics and give it our all regardless of the opponent. Everytime we go into a match that’s our main focus,” he concluded.

Maela has been one of the pillars in the Bucaneers defence playing in 9 of their 10 League games.

By Ofhani Munyai

What Pirates need to fix…

It’s still early days, but Orlando Pirates are already far off the pace in the Absa Premiership.

With 10 matches played, the Buccaneers are 12 points behind rivals and log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who they meet tomorrow at FNB Stadium (15:30).

Pirates, to their credit, challenged for the League in the past two seasons, but fell short to Mamelodi Sundowns.

This season, however, they are finding the going tough.

Naturally, there are a lot of things that they need to fix in their game to stage a comeback and become one of the contenders for the title. Here are some of it…


In terms of their statistics looking at specifically their 10 League games, it’s clear that Pirates are slow off the mark.

This is a breakdown of when they score their goals in the 90 minutes…

0-15: 8.13%

15-30: 8.3%

30-45: 0%

45-60: 50%

60-75: 8.3%

75-90: 25%

*Pirates are more dangerous from the start of the second half to the hour mark and then switch off, before coming back in the last 15 minutes. This means they only play well in patches, which isn’t good enough.

To sum it, from all Pirates’ 10 League games, there’s none that they were winning at halftime. In fact, it’s only Pirates and Chippa United that have not been leading heading into the break.

Bucs coach Mokwena’s middle name is Mlungisi (the one who fixes). Is ‘Mr Fix It’ up to the task?


Bucs have conceded 13 goals, two more than bottom placed, Chippa United. Pirates, Golden Arrows and Polokwane City have let in 13 and only one team has conceded more – Cape Town City (18).

The log leaders Chiefs have conceded only 5. Chiefs have a goal difference of +11 and Pirates are on -1. It’s in Pirates’ interest to work on their defence.


Last season, Pirates drew a whopping 12 games, which was arguably one of their downfalls in the League race. This season, they are on 4 draws from 10 matches. They cannot afford to continue drawing and dropping points.


They’ve lost three of their five League games away to SuperSport United (0-3), Bidvest Wits (3-4) and Stellenbosch (0-1). They won one and drew one. On the ‘away table’, Pirates are in 13th spot and on the ‘home table’, they are sixth.


Happy Jele (9 League starts), Innocent Maela (9), Fortune Makaringe (8) and Wayne Sandilands (7) are the players with the most starts. In total, Pirates have already used 29 players in League games only. Bucs coach Rulani Mokwena has to figure out who are the players capable of doing the job for the club and stick with them, rather than chop and change to please everyone.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa