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Opinion: Pirates delaying Ndah's progress by doing this?

Orlando Pirates could be shooting themselves in the foot by not taking their centre-back issues seriously. 

The Buccaneers had a centre-back crisis, with captain Happy Jele in and out of the team due to injuries and there has not been a consistent centre-back pairing, that can be relied upon, especially since Thulani Hlatshwayo was dropped.

The only shining light in the Pirates defence is the emergence centre-back Olisa Ndah, whose brief spell since joining the Buccaneers at the start of the season earned him a call-up to the Nigerian national team for the Africa Cup of Nations. 

However, Ndah has not had a consistent partner, with the likes of Jele, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Hlatshwayo and Kwanda Mngonyama all fighting to partner him.

Pirates legend Lucky Lekgwathi believes the Soweto giants need to find Ndah the right partner, preferably in the market, for him to get even better.

"I give Ndah 10 out of 10. The guy is doing very well. That’s why he even got a call-up from Nigeria,” Lekgwathi told Sowetan after the relaunch of his new restaurant, Grootman, in Southdale Mall in Johannesburg.

“I’m impressed with his performance and he just needs to get the right partner he can play with. The other defenders he played with are not bad, but if he can get someone who he can play with and understand him, they will form a good combination.

“I hope he can continue with the same performance when he returns from Afcon and I think he is heading in the right direction.”

The Buccaneers are seemingly still looking for his suitable partner in-house, as they are reportedly in the process of recalling centre-back Justice Chabalala from his loan spell at Sekhukhune United. 

"Pirates are interested to have Justice Chabalala back for the second round of the season and talks are ongoing between Pirates and Sekhukhune United," a source was quoted as saying by Soccer Laduma

"Pirates have expressed interest in having the player (return) now in January, but Sekhukhune are keen to hold on to him for the rest of his loan deal which will end at the end of the season."

Chabalala has not been getting game time at Sekhukhune and in fact Pirates should be considering selling him and look for a better quality defender, who can potentially form a central-defence partnership with Ndah.

The Buccaneers were rumoured to be interested in the signing of Golden Arrows centre-back Nkosinathi Sibisi, with the deal reported to be close before the start of the season but it fell through. 

Given Lekgwathi's assessment, who formed a good partnership with Siyabonga Sangweni, who was signed from Abafana Bes'thende, Pirates need to go to the market to get a quality centre-back, to enhance the performance and capitalize on the quality of Ndah.

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Happy Jele Kwanda Mngonyama Ndah Ntsikelelo Nyauza Orlando Pirates


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