Shandu unfazed by prospect of Pirates pressure

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Bandile Shandu knows there will be much more pressure to perform at Orlando Pirates than Maritzburg United, but the midfielder has said that he is ready for the step up.

The 26-year-old joined Pirates most recently from Maritzburg on a three-year deal, moving away from KwaZulu-Natal and switching clubs for the first time in his professional career. He arrives at Pirates with much expectation on his shoulders after almost a decade at ‘The Team of Choice’.

But, Shandu insisted that he will not be weighed down by the pressure that comes with playing for a giant like his new club, Pirates, instead it will only inspire him to greater heights.

“I played for Maritzburg United since I was just 17-years-old, so moving to another club was a bit of a first for me. So, I’m glad to have received a warm welcome from my new teammates as well as the coaches. That has made things easier, and I’m really grateful for that,” said Shandu.

“Pirates is a big club – one of the biggest in South Africa. So, I’m expecting a different type of pressure. I know there is a demand for results, and I’m aware that I have to do my best to contribute to positive results for the team. It’s such a privilege and honour to be part of this great Club. So, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season.

With over 150 Premiership appearances in all competitions, featuring as a regular starter in the last five seasons in KZN, Shandu is a seasoned-campaigner and feels that he can be a game-changer at Pirates.

However, he admitted that it will be ‘difficult’ in Soweto due to the quality of the side. “But I’ll keep doing what’s worked for me ‘til this point,” he said.

“I always strive to work hard, do the basics right, and follow the Coach’s instructions. Basically, just try and add value and do whatever is required by the team to the best of my ability. So, I’m just willing to do that and contribute to the team’s cause, and make sure that we achieve a lot in the upcoming season.

“I’m really honoured to be playing for Orlando Pirates. What I can promise is that each time I’m on the pitch, I’ll always give 100% and ensure that the fans are happy.”

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By Tokelo Mokhesi