Ntshumayelo is earning his stripes at Bucs

2012-03-10 15:57

Orlando Pirates January transfer window recruit Thandani Ntshumayelo is only a month and a half old at the club, but has already established himself as coach Julio Leal’s first choice in the heart of the Buccaneers’ midfield.

The former SuperSport United defensive midfielder has played full 90 minutes in three league matches and has two Man of the Match awards to show for his contribution.

The 21-year-old has wrestled this position from ­­well-established players and made it his own.

The player is the same height and possesses almost similar qualities as his predecessors, Clifford Ngobeni and Mlungisi Gumbi (Mdluli), who have both failed to secure regular places in the large pool of midfielders in the Pirates ship and have since been off-loaded.

Ntshumayelo, a three-time league champion with SuperSport United, admits to having witnessed the likes of Ngobeni and Gumbi dipping into obscurity, but he said he was determined to cement a place in the Pirates line-up despite stiff competition in his preferred position.

His direct competitors are Andile Jali, Isaac Chansa and Oupa Manyisa.

“I am not afraid of competition,” declared the Heilbron, Free State-born youngster boldly. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have played for big South African teams. It has been an invaluable experience. I’m still young and I have a lot of energy to compete.”

He said the environment at Pirates was new, but the challenge was the same.

“It has been a long and fascinating journey for me. I won the league three times with SuperSport. I have to prove myself with Pirates now. I won’t be carried away by the two awards,” he added.

Like his team-mate Daine Klate – who also broke into the professional scene with SuperSport – Ntshumayelo says he has inherited a winning culture at United and hopes this will complement that of his new team-mates, who won a treble with the Buccaneers last season.

“My move to Pirates was not a big jump for me. I had been with one of the most successful clubs in the country. I know what it is like to be a champion.

“Like at SuperSport, I found the same mentality at Pirates. The difference here are the fans, who are always watching us in big numbers and expect the best results from each and every game. Here, one slip-up and you know you are out. There is no time to relax,” concluded Ntshumayelo.

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