Orlando Pirates’ new signings for 2021/22 season

This is the fourth transfer window for the Buccaneers while under the leadership of their German tactician Josef Zinnbauer

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer will be hoping that this time around he builds a formidable side to successfully challenge for the Premier Soccer League title and Caf Confederation Cup.

In the upcoming season, the Soweto giants will again be bidding for a first league title since 2012.

They also return to the Confederation Cup where their quality was brutally exposed in a 4-0 quarter-final, second leg, defeat by eventual champions Raja Casablanca.

It is now yet to be seen if the squad Zinnbauer is busy building will be strong enough to be more competitive in both domestic competitions and in Africa.

The German has so far signed centre-back Kwanda Mngonyama and midfielder Bandile Shandu, both from Maritzburg United.

Attacking midfielder Goodman Mosele was also signed from Baroka FC while winger Monnapule Saleng arrived from Free State Stars.

Not another miss by Zinnbauer

Kwanda Mngonyama, Orlando Pirates, July 2021

After Thulani Hlatshwayo was signed by Pirates before the start of last season, there were so many expectations about the defender.

He arrived at Pirates with a glowing profile headlined by being Bafana Bafana captain, but he went on to disappoint in his debut season with the Buccaneers. 

Zinnbauer would be hoping for Mngonyama to quickly settle and live up to the expectations of a defender playing for a traditional giant.

Mngonyama signed a two-year-deal and finds Hlatshwayo, captain Happy Jele and Ntsikelelo Nyauza as centre-backs already at Pirates.

There will be scrutiny on whether Zinnbauer this time around made the right decision in beefing up the central defence with a player who immediately makes an impact.

For a player boasting the experience of eight Premier Soccer League seasons shared between Bidvest Wits, two stints at Maritzburg United and Cape Town City, hopes are that the 27-year-old is a hit and not a miss.

Free agents, good business 

Bandile Shandu, Maritzburg United, November 2019

Last season, Zinnbauer signed Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Thabang Monare and Terrence Dzvukamanja on free transfers from Bidvest Wits.

Now he has Shandu and Mngonyama as free agents after their Maritzburg United contracts expired at the end of June. 

While no transfer fee has been paid for established PSL players, that could be regarded as good business.

But much focus is on seeing if they will flourish at Pirates.

For Shandu, it is the first time in his professional career to move from Maritzburg where he spent the last nine seasons after graduating into the first team as an 18-year-old.

The 26-year-old signed a three-year deal.

Mosele out to banish reputation of Baroka to Pirates flops

Goodman Mosele, Baroka FC, December 2020

Players who move from Baroka FC to Pirates have a history of failing to do well at the Soweto giants.

The latest is Collins Makgaka who managed to make just seven appearances in all competitions last season which was his maiden campaign at Pirates.

Makgaka was preceded by the likes of Gift Motupa and Thabiso Kutumela, who completed transfers from Baroka to Pirates only to flop.

But interestingly, Motupa and Kutumela managed to re-establish themselves and are now at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Now, Goodman Mosele has signed for Pirates from Baroka and there is interest in watching if he will banish the grim reputation carved by former Bakgaka players.

After being handed a four-year deal, it was a show of faith in his capabilities and he now has to repay Zinnbauer for that trust.

It will be the first time for him to play for any other club than Baroka and the 21-year-old is currently with the South Africa Under-23 side at the Olympic Games in Japan.

Will Saleng introduce himself to SA football at Pirates?

Monnapule Saleng, Bafana Bafana, July 2021

Saleng might have consistently featured for Bafana Bafana at the just-ended Cosafa Cup tournament and helped them to gold.

But his name is yet to be known in South African football and has a lot to do to prove himself.

There are still questions about a 23-year-old midfielder with no PSL experience Zinnbauer signed from National First Division side Free State Stars.

An attacking midfielder, he will be fighting for recognition in a set-up which already has the likes of Hotto, Monare, Dzvukamanja, Fortune Makaringe, Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch, Linda Mntambo and Nkanyiso Zungu.

He is at Pirates on a three-year deal.

Players Zinnbauer might look to add

Evidence Makgopa, Baroka FC & Thulani Hlatshwayo, Orlando Pirates, November 2020

There have been reports suggesting that Evidence Makgopa is following his former Baroka teammate Mosele to Pirates.

Giving credence to those rumours is that Zinnbauer is yet to sign a new striker for next season.

For the better part of last season, Pirates were hit by a centre-forward crisis following a spate of injuries to Zakhele Lepasa, Tshegofatso Mabasa, Frank Mhango and Jean-Marc Makusu.

This saw Zinnbauer at times fielding Dzvukamanja, Mntambo and Hotto as number nines.

The signing of Makgopa might be ideal for Pirates after the player enjoyed a decent season with Baroka last season and scored seven league goals. 

The 21-year-old also broke into the Bafana squad and scored a brace on his debut against Uganda in June.

He is currently with the Under-23 side at the Olympic Games in Japan.

SuperSport United Bradley Grobler was also being linked with Pirates as has been the case in recent past seasons.

But the chances of him joining the Buccaneers appear very faint after he recently signed a new Matsatsantsa deal. 

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