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Football Reporting


What Orlando Pirates’ starting line-up against Maritzburg United says about their striking concerns

The ongoing injury issues among the Bucs strikers, including last season’s top scorer Gabadinho Mhango, probably explains the team’s inconsistency

An issue that has nagged at Orlando Pirates this season – a lack of fit strikers – is a still proving problematic for the Soweto giants.

With a 1-0 win over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening, thanks to a Deon Hotto goal a few minutes before half-time, Pirates managed to end a two-match streak in which they have failed to net.

With Gabadinho Mhango back on the injury list – the Malawian was in the process of building up his match fitness after missing the first three months of the season, as well as Tshegofatso Mabasa and Zakhele Lepasa missing through injury, coach Josef Zinnbauer started with Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule against Maritzburg.

Lorch and Pule usually operate as wingers, although they also tend to be allowed to drift across the forward line as they please, and are certainly adept in the striker or number 10 positions.

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However, what is notable about their selection is that both Terrence Dzvukamanja and Jean-Marc Makusu Mundele were left on the bench and did not feature at all.

Dzvukamanja is a bit like Lorch and Pule – not an out-and-out striker but rather an attacking midfielder who can be effective wide or centrally.

The former Bidvest Wits man has been given quite a lot of game-time by coach Josef Zinnbauer, but has not really grabbed the opportunity and so it was perhaps telling that he was left on the bench on Saturday.

Mundele, meanwhile, has barely played for Pirates, despite arriving at the club with a fair amount of expectation having previously played in Belgium for Standard Liege as well as other stints in Hungary, Algeria and Egypt.

The DR Congo marksman arrived at the club about in early November last year but has played a total of 20 minutes.

Zinnbauer went some way to explaining the situation last week, telling the media:

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“Mundele has not been here for long. He needs information in terms of tactics and conditioning. Before he came here he was out for a while. We need to manage these situations well.”

It still seems strange, though, that the experienced Mundele has taken so long to settle and one would have thought that with the current injury list, it could have been the perfect time for the player on loan from AS Vita to grab his opportunity.

Especially when considering that he was only signed on a season-long loan.


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