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Mokoena reveals reason why Orlando Pirates' defence is leaking goals as PSL title hopes fade

00:29 GMT+3 19/03/2022
Naughty Mokoena, Orlando Pirates & Paul Scholes, Manchester United, 2014
GOAL spoke to a member of Bafana Bafana's 1998 Fifa World Cup squad regarding the Buccaneers' defending problem

Former Orlando Pirates star William 'Naughty' Mokoena has refused to blame the Soweto giants' defence for the team's fading PSL title hopes.

The Buccaneers secured a 3-2 win over SuperSport United on Wednesday night in a match in which poor marking exposed their limited backline.

The win leaves Pirates third in the table - level on points with third-placed Kaizer Chiefs, but 16 points behind runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Bucs' leaky defence has been a major problem this term having conceded 22 goals from 23 games, which is the worst defensive record among the top six teams on the league standings.

However, Mokoena, who was on the books of Pirates between 1998 and 1999, has insisted that the whole team needs to share the responsibility when it comes to defending.

"We cannot always blame the defence. It depends on how they are set up or positioned at the back and how the team plays," Mokoena told GOAL.

"Sometimes when a team goes through a rough patch you tend to hear people blaming the defenders and the goalkeeper.

"However, [defending] goes hand in hand with the midfielders and strikers."

The Pirates technical team, which is led by co-head coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids, have deployed Abel Mabaso, Ben Motshwari, Goodman Mosele and Thabang Monare as holding midfielders this season.

A defensive midfielder, who represented South Africa at senior and under-23 level during his playing days, Mokoena stressed the importance of offering good protection for the backline.

"If for example, the defenders are feeling pressure or when there is no protection from midfield, then they tend to make mistakes and the team ends up unnecessary conceding goals," the retired player added.

"That is the reason why Pirates have leaked a lot of goals this season."

Pirates are set to take on Algerian side JS Sauora in their penultimate Caf Confederation Cup Group B game in Algeria on Sunday.