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Orlando Pirates legend Motale probes Hlatshwayo’s problems

11:43 AM EDT 4/18/22
Thulani Hlatshwayo, Orlando Pirates, October 2021
The former Bafana Bafana captain is enduring a difficult season at the Soweto giants as the prospect of him playing again look slim

Former Orlando Pirates defender Edward Motale has taken time to scrutinise Thulani Hlatshwayo’s struggles at the club.

Motale has explained the reasons for Hlatshwayo’s lack of game time this term.

After consistently featuring earlier in the season, the 32-year-old centre-back has fallen off the pecking order and has managed to take part in just 10 Premier Socer League games.

He has appeared in just one Caf Confederation Cup match, Pirates’ doomed MTN8 quarter-final clash against Swallows FC and he did not play in the Nedbank Cup.

Hlatshwayo has not played any competitive match in 2022 after consistently featuring in the team last season although he was far from impressive.

“I think the players didn’t welcome him 100% because they already had a captain Happy Jele, but he was stripped of the captaincy, and Hlatshwayo was made captain on his arrival,” Motale told FARPost.

“Wits and Pirates’ styles of play are different. I’m not sure what his pure reason for joining the Bucs was. He turned down many PSL teams who wanted his signature.”

Some costly errors in November and December saw Hlatshwayo being frozen out and with Olisa Ndah being called to step in, he shut out the former Bidvest Wits man as the Nigeria international turned himself into one of the Buccaneers’ best signings for this season.

But in recent games, Pirates coaches are preferring Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Happy Jele as twin centre-backs in the absence of Ndah.

Motale has, however, backed Hlatshwayo to bounce back as he offers the ex-Bafana Bafana skipper some advice.

“He has lost his captaincy and call-ups on Bafana and lost his place on the Buccaneers starting eleven. I think he must train hard and hope for the best,” said Motale.

“To deal with this problem, Hlatshwayo should open up about his situation and struggles as Pirates. It will help him heal fast. These boys tend to bottle up their secrets, which damages them mentally, and they end up losing focus.”

It is yet to be seen if Hlatshwayo will make an appearance this season as Pirates are left with five league games and are in the quarter-finals of the Confederation Cup.