Fri Jun 23 03:52:22 SAST 2017

Pirates' defence worries Motale

2017-04-21 09:02:39.0 | Tiyani wa ka Mabasa |

Orlando Pirates may have kept two clean sheets in a row but their ever-changing defence has their ex-defender Edward Motale worried.

The Buccaneers are starting to show signs of defending better under Swedish mentor Kjell Jonevret, who took over two months ago.

But as they prepare to host Bloemfontein Celtic in tomorrow's Nedbank Cup quarterfinal (Orlando Stadium, 8.30pm), even their most ardent fans cannot tell which defence will start.

"The rotation has cost them a lot [this season]," Motale observed.

Pirates have the fourth worst defence in the league, having conceded 33 goals in 23 matches. Only Highlands Park (38), Baroka (36) and Golden Arrows (34) have let in more. Motale, who captained Pirates in the '90s and won the 1995 CAF Champions League, believes the team is now on the right track and may become solid under Jonevret, which is vital considering they have the Nedbank Cup to play for.

"I can't blame Kjell for changing the defence sometimes, because he's only been here for a couple of months and he's trying to get his combinations right. It's vital that he gets that right soon. You saw what happened earlier in the season," Motale said in reference to two heavy score lines Bucs suffered at the hands of SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Only Happy Jele and Ayanda Gcaba, who are both central defenders, have played in all Pirates' last 10 matches in all competitions. Before this, Pirates chopped and changed their central defence. Others to have played in central defence include Edwin Gyimah, James Okwuosa and Justice Chabalala. Pirates have only kept seven clean sheets in 29 outings this season.

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