The return of jersey number 10

2014-05-18 15:00

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Midfielder Oupa Manyisa is likely to mark the return of jersey number 10 at Orlando Pirates in the new season, a club insider told City Press this week.

It has been almost a decade since the Bucs retired the traditional squad number after Steve “Chippa” Lekoelea became the last player to don it during the 2002/03 season.

Manyisa (25) has been the mainstay of the Pirates team in the last four seasons and many supporters would concur that he deserves the number associated with the likes of Jomo Sono.

Before Mjomana, the jersey was donned by Percy “Chippa Chippa” Moloi, Pirates assistant coach Tebogo Moloi’s late father.

Sono raised the bar to a level that no other player, past or present, has been able to meet. Manyisa has proved to be one of the best workhorses in the PSL who attacks and defends equally, according to the source.

While Manyisa has been at the heart of everything good that Pirates has done over the years, will he be remembered as fondly as the likes of Sono in the next 10 years?

Football’s most sought-after jersey is usually ­reserved for the most outstanding players on the pitch, and Pirates believe they have someone who fits the bill.

Since it was made famous by the world’s greatest practitioner of the pigskin game, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as ­Pelé, the jersey has become a global trademark in the game.

“Jomo will be the relevant person to comment about deserving candidates for the jersey,” said Lekoelea when quizzed if Manyisa deserved the honour.

“The reason the number was taken away from me was that Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza accused me of being a troublemaker and always demanding money.”

Sono said whether they brought back the famous jersey or not, it had nothing to do with him. “It is their own prerogative and let the people decide,” he said.

Khoza has always spoken glowingly about Manyisa as one of the most disciplined and determined players locally.

Argentina brought back the jersey number for Lionel Messi but he is yet to match Diego Maradona’s exploits. At best, Messi is a domestic giant with Barcelona who has yet to make a mark for his country’s national squad.

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