Xoki backs ‘leader’ Makhaula to flourish at Orlando Pirates after January transfer window deadline day move
- Xoki is excited by Makhaula's leadership qualities
- Pirates defender thinks the midfielder will integrate well
- 34-year-old ex-AmaZulu skipper joined Bucs on deadline-day
WHAT HAPPENED? Former AmaZulu captain Makhaula joined Pirates on deadline day to put an end to speculation over his future, but his arrival has not been received well by a section of fans.
The supporters feel the Buccaneers should have signed a younger player, not the 34-year-old, and if they needed experience, then Mamelodi Sundowns duo Andile Jali and Lesedi Kapinga would have been better options.
Pirates were linked with both Jali and Kapinga but ended the window with Makhaula instead, and he is set to add competition to an already bloated squad that has the likes of Miguel Timm, Ben Motshwari, Goodman Mosele, Thabang Monare and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo in midfield.
Xoki, however, feels Makhaula’s experience and leadership qualities will put the Soweto giants in good stead as they seek to close the gap on runaway leaders Sundowns.
WHAT DID HE SAY? “He [Makhehlene Makhaula] brings more of his leadership qualities to the team. I know for a fact that he’s a good leader and he’s competitive as well,” Xoki told the media as per FarPost.
“He’s one of the hard guys in the league and we would like to have that in the team. We hope to have a good time with him and hopefully integrate with other guys very well.
“We [are] happy to have more material in the squad and we working to make sure they can be ready to be selected as soon as possible like everyone else.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pirates coach Jose Riveiro has admitted having the ‘headache’ of selecting his best 11 from a big squad and he faces an even more difficult time coming up with a consistent midfield three given the options at his disposal.
The Bucs are fourth on the table, 24 points behind Sundowns, and while the PSL title is out of reach, they still face a major battle to finish second and seal a return to the Caf Champions League.
This is because second-placed Richards Bay and SuperSport United in third, three and one point ahead of them respectively, and Kaizer Chiefs, one behind, are also vying for the coveted slot.
Riveiro can therefore not afford any gambles going forward especially after his side’s recent good run of form.
WHAT’S NEXT? Pirates have a major test against Sundowns on Saturday in a match that will test if they are on catching up with the Brazilians.