Pi­rates’ mid­field saviour?

Former star Ma­nen­zhe be­lieves Sang­weni will spark Bucs’ at­tack

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MO­HAU RA­MASHIDJA

IN Tham­sanqa Sang­weni, Or­lando Pi­rates have signed a re­li­able cen­tral mid­fielder who will en­hance their at­tack­ing po­ten­tial.

This is the view of former Pi­rates cen­tre-for­ward, Phu­mudzo Ma­nen­zhe, who reck­ons the former Chippa United cap­tain will bring luck at the Sea Rob­bers camp go­ing into the new sea­son.

Speak­ing at the Car­ling Black La­bel Cham­pion Cup me­dia up­date in New­town yes­ter­day, Ma­nen­zhe stated that Sang­weni, who signed a con­tract with the Sea Rob­bers for up un­til the 2020 sea­son, has all the qual­i­ties ex­pected of any­one who dons the fa­mous black and white jer­sey.

“I believe the ar­rival of Tham­sanqa Sang­weni means the prayers of the Buc­ca­neers fans have been an­swered be­cause, in the pre­vi­ous sea­son, the fans were com­plain­ing about their cen­tral mid­field­ers not cir­cu­lat­ing the ball enough,” Ma­nen­zhe said.

“Pi­rates’ style of play is more re­liant on the ball be­ing played through their wingers up front, and to do that, you need to have solid cen­tral mid­field­ers who will sup­ply those type of balls to ei­ther wing.

“Sang­weni brings that long and short pass­ing game,” Ma­nen­zhe added. “His di­ag­o­nal passes are some of the best in the PSL. He’s also good with mak­ing those late runs into box, and he gives him­self those op­por­tu­ni­ties to strike the long range shots from out­side the box that he’s well known for. And that’s why I believe the fans would be very happy to have a player of his cal­i­bre at the club.”

Asked which player Sang­weni would be best paired up with to make the Sea Rob­bers more ef­fec­tive in at­tack next sea­son, Ma­nen­zhe said: “I per­son­ally feel that Oupa Many­isa should drop from that No10 role and join Sang­weni in the heart of mid­field. De­pend­ing on which for­ma­tion the coach de­cides to play, I believe that this pair can al­ter­nate and play well to­gether in cen­tral mid­field.

“Sang­weni has more de­fen­sive qual­i­ties com­pared to Oupa, who is more of­fen­sive. Both of them are good ball play­ers and that means Pi­rates will now be able to keep pos­ses­sion much bet­ter.

“Pi­rates al­ways lacked that player who could keep the ball for them in the mid­field,” the 33-year-old re­tired player added. “They’ve found him now in Sang­weni. I can’t fault Issa Sarr much be­cause he’s a very com­mit­ted player and his workrate is in­cred­i­ble, too. But Pi­rates need a player who can keep the ball and play those di­ag­o­nal balls to ei­ther wing. Sang­weni is stronger when it comes to that, if you were to com­pare the two. I would def­i­nitely field Sang­weni ahead of Sarr.”

Mean­while, Ma­nen­zhe added that the two sea­sons dur­ing which the Buc­ca­neers par­tic­i­pated in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions (the 2013 CAF Cham­pi­ons League and the 2014 Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup) and reached the fi­nal might have contributed to the slump they ex­pe­ri­enced in the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

“Any­body as­so­ci­ated with the (Pi­rates) brand would have loved to cel­e­brate this 80th an­niver­sary in style,” Ma­nen­zhe lamented.

“We were just un­for­tu­nate not to have started the past sea­son well. There were some questionable per­for­mances from cer­tain play­ers. The chair­man said he would re­lease a state­ment in terms of how he views this past sea­son.

“But hav­ing said that,” Maneze added. “There were a lot of as­pects which came into play. Things such as were Pi­rates play­ing as a team this past sea­son. How was their nu­tri­tion? Was the phys­i­cal trainer giv­ing them too much load in train­ing, or was it less? There were a lot of things which might have contributed to the slump, but un­til we get that over­all fi­nal re­port from the team, we can­not pin­point where things went wrong this past sea­son.”


SWEET STRIKE: Venus Wil­liams of the US returns to Qiang Wang of China in their sec­ond round match dur­ing the Wimbledon Cham­pi­onships at the All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Club, in Lon­don yes­ter­day

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