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Orlando Pirates legend Fish questions Mabena signing at age 35

12:47 PM GMT 17/12/2022
Ndumiso Mabena, Orlando Pirates, September 2022
Former Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish has questioned Orlando Pirates signing Ndumiso Mabena who is “coming to the end of his career."
  • Mabena is back at Pirates
  • At 35, he returns to a club he left as a 27-year-old
  • That does not please club legend Fish

WHAT HAPPENED? Mabena was announced as a Pirates player earlier this December after spending three months training with the club following his Royal AM departure. The 35-year-old is back at the Soweto giants, a club he left in 2014 after struggling for game time.

After leaving the Buccaneers, he enjoyed playing opportunities at Platinum Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic and Royal AM who, however, wanted to loan him out to Swallows FC at the start of this season. Fish has raised questions about Pirates signing a 35-year-old as he appears to be doubting if the forward can be the prolific striker they need.

WHAT DID FISH SAY?: “Pirates certainly need a striker, someone that can score goals for them and Ndumiso, no disrespect to him at 35-year-old,” said Fish as per ThisIsFootball. “If he can get Pirates 20 goals then that’ll be the signing of the season. But again, we all know when a player is a 35-year-old, he’s coming to the end of his career.

“Pirates played at times the most attractive football in the country but certainly we all know the last five or six seasons the biggest problem is goal scoring. Is this the man [Mabena] to score the goals at the age of 35 or are we trying to cover the gap for now as Pirates or we are we looking to the future?”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: In recent times, Pirates have been struggling upfront except three seasons ago when Frank Mhango scored 16 Premier Soccer League goals. Even in the current campaign, they have improved in defence but are still facing glaring attacking shortcomings.

The club’s current top goalscorer is winger Monnapule Saleng who has two league goals. Now, they have turned to Mabena whose scoring record saw him reaching double figures just once in his long career when he managed 10 goals for Platinum Stars during the 2015/16 season.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR MABENA? Mabena would be hoping to silence his doubters by becoming a regular scorer for Pirates when they get back to competitive action on December 30. He would be keen to be regarded as a huge solution to the Soweto giants’ attacking frailties.