Maela, Motshwari give verdict on Mngonyama signing


Orlando Pirates duo of Innocent Maela and Ben Motshwari believe new signing Kwanda Mngonyama will be a key addition in their attempts to end their nine-year wait for the League title.

Bafana Bafana left-back, Maela, believes Mngonyama’s signing from Maritzburg United will bring stability to Bucs’ defence that let in 22 goals in the DStv Premiership last season.

“Kwanda is very solid, aerially he is very good, he is also good with one-on-one duels. He is also quick and he will help us a lot with stability, with set pieces – especially attacking set-pieces and also defending,” Maela said on the sidelines of Bucs’ training camp in Rustenburg.

Of course, there is no place for Mngonyama in Sunday’s team that will play crosstown rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the ninth edition of the Carling Black Label Cup.

Fans have voted for Maela, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Wayde Jooste and Ntsikelelo Nyauza to start in defence.

Nonetheless, midfield grafter, Motshwari, has no doubt Mngonyama will have an impact this season. He said the new signings that include Monnapule Saleng and Bandile Shandu were adjusting fairly well in the pre-season camp.

Goodman Mosele is yet to join his new teammates as he is with the national Under 23 team at the ongoing Olympics. The David Notoane-coached side was booted out of the Olympics after their third loss in the competition, a 3-0 at the hands of Mexico on Wednesday afternoon.

Motshwari made particular mention of Mngonyama, saying “there were games where we didn’t have centre-backs because most of the guys were injured.”

He believes the well-built defender will add depth especially considering that they are also participating in the Caf Confederation Cup.

“[Last season] we were playing a game every three days. [We’ve made] good signings, we needed to get a bit of depth in the squad,” he added.

Current Teams:

Orlando Pirates: Richard Ofori, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela, Wayde Jooste, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Thembinkosi Lorch, Ben Motshwari, Deon Hotto, Fortune Makaringe, Thabang Monare, Gabadinho Mhango.

Kaizer Chiefs: Itumeleng Khune, Eric Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso, Happy Mashiane, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lebohang Lesako, Njabulo Blom, Kearyn Baccus, Sabelo Radebe, Samir Nurkovic, Khama Billiat.

RELATED STORY: Carling Cup to offer intriguing glimpse into Soweto giants

By Mthokozisi Dube