New Bucs coach fails to end goal drought

2011-10-22 20:04

Orlando Pirates’ scoring problem is nothing new – they were in the same situation for three seasons under axed coach Rudi Krol.

Bucs have so far scored six goals in eight Absa Premiership matches, the same as in the 2010/11 and 2008/09 seasons – but three fewer goals compared to 2009/10.

This despite having new coach Julio Leal and a few new attacking players at the start of the season.

Though Pirates have not scored in their last three league matches, new and old strikers have been contributing their bit – unlike in the past season when defenders and midfielders dominated the scoring charts.

Strikers Benni McCarthy and Ndumiso Mabena are so far the club’s joint top scorers with two goals each, while Bongani Ndulula found the net once going into last night’s encounter against Black Leopards.

Leal has started with the ­Mabena-Ndulula partnership three times in all competitions so far, but the pair have yielded a single goal between them.

It was only when they were introduced from the bench against Sundowns in the MTN8 Cup semifinals that Ndulula hit the target in the dramatic 3-2 comeback at Orlando Stadium on August 21.

While other outfield players have not been sharing the scoring responsibility as has usually been the case, defender Happy Jele was one of the contributors to the team’s total tally of six league goals so far in their campaign.

Under Krol, defenders Lucky Lekgwathi and Lucas Thwala were regular scorers when the strikers were firing blanks.

Leal has 10 strikers at his ­disposal – including the imminent arrival of new signing Talatou Boubacar from Niger – but the goal drought has been a cause for concern for the defending ­champions.

Said Leal: “In modern football everyone is capable of scoring. We can’t rely on one forward.”

Ironically, in the two games that the Brazilian-born coach ­deployed three attackers – while playing against Sundowns and Free State Stars – the team failed to score.

He had unleashed McCarthy, Mabena and Rudolf Bester, but Pirates drew 0-0 with Sundowns and lost 1-0 to Stars.

Isaac Chansa, who is mostly used as a second striker, made his first start of the season in the goalless draw against AmaZulu last weekend.

The Zambian international ­assumed the responsibility alongside Thulasizwe Mbuyane.

Chansa said: “We have a ­problem (upfront) and we’re working on it.”

“I’m looking forward to playing alongside an experienced player like Benni.

“He’s really helping the team and it’s a pity we’re not utilising the opportunities he creates.

“It takes time but I believe we have the best strikers and it’s just a matter of time before we start scoring again.”

But watching Orlando ­Pirates at their training ­session this week, the ­regular side were dismal in front of goal despite there ­being no ­opposition on sight in their full ground drill.

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