Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has indicated that he could follow the approach made by Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, indirectly after making comments about Thulani Hlatshwayo losing his place in the team.
Pirates have had defensive problems similar to Chiefs, although not on the same scale but with regards to an experienced defender underperforming.
Hlatshwayo's performances have been under the microscope at the Buccaneers since joining from Bidvest Wits and since his switch, he has not lived up to expectations, with below par performances at the Soweto giants also costing him a place in the Bafana Bafana team.
After a string of poor performances for Pirates, the 31-year old has not only lost a place in the national team but an armband as well and that trend is slowly threatening to take place at the Buccaneers, as he has been out of favour recently.
Unlike last season, where the Buccaneers did not have a capable defender to replace him at the back, this season they have young Nigerian defender Olisah Ndah, who was signed in the off-season after helping Nigerian side Akwa United win the league title.
Ndah was slowly introduced in phases in the early stages of the season but he got a start against Maritzburg United in midweek, with Hlatshwayo dropping to the bench, as Pirates got a cleansheet in a goalless draw.
Baxter was faced with a similar problem at Chiefs, where experienced defenders, Eric Mathoho and Daniel Cardoso were underperforming and unlike last season, where Amakhosi could not sign players, this season they have new defenders, Njabulo Ngcobo and Thabani Dube, in so far as central defence is concerned and the former Bafana Bafana coach was under pressure to put the two new defenders all at once.
However, the veteran tactician resisted the temptation and actually switched Ngcobo from central defence to defensive midfielder, given Ngcobo's calmness on the ball and the ability to pick out a pass.
Ncikazi lauded Ndah after his performance against the Team of Choice and suggested that the way the 23-year old is so comfortable and dynamic, they could consider playing him in midfield also.
“I even think that at some point you can even play him in the middle of the park and that is what he presents in our team. He is strong on set-plays defensively and offensively. He’s just a complete defender. Maybe, very soon he should be even going higher than when he is right now. But I’m really happy for the contribution that he has provided in our set-up," Ncikazi said after the match, as per Soccer Laduma.
Do you think Ndah can make it in midfield, unlike Ngcobo who is currently struggling in that position?
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