Bucs to dump Matlaba
Defender has been left out of Pirates’ CAF squad, a sign he is on the way out
Orlando Pirates defender Thabo Matlaba’s days as a Buccaneer are numbered.
Matlaba has been with the Buccaneers since 2012 after joining from Free State Stars, but sources close to the club told Sunday World that he is on his way out.
Matlaba, 30, is a notable omission from Pirates’ list of players for the upcoming CAF Champions League announced recently.
There are a few other players who have not been registered, including Gladwin Shitolo, Wayne Sandilands and Luvuyo Memela.
But for Matlaba, it’s yet another indication that he’s set to leave. Before the beginning of this season, Matlaba was meant to join Chippa United, but declined the move and was reinstated to the team.
But after his CAF snub, our informants have painted a bleak future for Matlaba with the Soweto-based side.
“The reality is that he’s not in the [CAF] squad and that’s a clear message that he’s not in the club’s plans,” said our source.
Matlaba is in the last seven months of his contract and will be free to negotiate with other teams from January with a view to a move at the end of the season – or he could spend the rest of the campaign on loan.
Bucs mentor Micho Sredojevic explained this week that the 27-man CAF registered squad was picked for the earlier rounds of the tournament and since teams are allowed to register a maximum of 30 players, places are still up for grabs from the group stages.
But another source close to the player insisted that Matlaba’s future is in serious doubt. “Thabo’s situation is like fighting a losing battle and some fights are just not worth it.
“You must also remember that in football a player is quickly forgotten by the fans when their team is playing well. If Pirates were not doing well, you would have some of them asking about him, but everything is quiet on his side,” added the source.
Matlaba’s future is apparently set to be decided in the coming months when he’s scheduled to meet with the club’ s management.
While Sredojevic didn’t shed much light with his comments about the players missing from the CAF squad, Matlaba’s agent Abbie Rasimphi also didn’t give much away.
“This is a club matter and when they do something, they have their own reasons – so that has to be respected,” Rasimphi said.
Pirates open their CAF campaign with a home preliminary round clash against Light Stars from the Seychelles at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
The return leg will be played a week later.
Orlando Pirates left back Thabo Matlaba.