Orlando Pirates have recently beefed their squad with the signing of another left back Marc Innocent Maela from Thanda Royal Zulu. The youngster is currently in the books of Pirates and has already played a few games. He is currently injured and his place was taken by veteran Marc Van Heerden in Pirates’ previous game against Polokwane City and Golden Arrows.
The signing of Innocent means that Pirates have 3 players in the left back position which are Thabo Matlaba, Innocent Maela and Marc Van Heerden. This is going to be a battle at the left back position at the team and the competition for the position is going to make the team one of the strongest teams in the PSL as each and every player given the opportunity would be playing to secure the position.
Thabo Matlaba has previously made the left back position his own with brilliant performances in the Pirates colours especially in the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup where he scored a number of important goals to help the team reach both finals although they did not win any of the two competitions. he is currently playing in midfield and also doing well under Rhulani and Micho.
Patrick Phungwayo on the other hand has struggled to make the first eleven in the Pirates team since he arrived three seasons ago. While playing for Bidvest Wits a few seasons ago, Patrick was one of the best left backs in the PSL but he has failed to make the grades at Pirates and that was one of the reasons for the team management to sign other left backs in Innocent Maela and Marc Van Heerden.
With the fact that the team has been conceding a lot of soft goals in the current season, they are looking into the possibilities of using Innocent Maela or Marc Van Heerden as a fulltime left backs and Thabo Matlaba as a midfielder. The reason is to make sure that the team has enough defenders when they are under attack from opposition teams as Matlaba has been going forward a lot of times leaving the gap at the left back position unattended.
Another option for Pirates to lure Maela to the team was also to have enough cover for the left back position as they were looking at the possibilities of converting Matlaba to a right back position or a midfield position as he is very effective going forward than defending and also that he is right footed. Matlaba as the team captain has a lot of responsibilities at Pirates and from now on will be much involved with the whole setup in midfield.
Orlando Pirates are currently not having any problems in the left back position as they have enough and are looking forward to build from there. Micho and Rhulani are spoilt for choice in the left back position. The tem is looking forward to win at least a trophy or two in the current 2017/18 season as they are now in their third season without winning a single trophy. Micho and Rhulani are trusted by Pirates management and fans unlike Muhsin and Kjell.