Signings have Tinkler smiling

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler was all smiles welcoming two of his new players at the team's training session in Johannesburg on Monday.

Defender Tshepo Gumede and goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, both former Platinum Stars players, joined the Buccaneers after the January transfer period ended on Friday.

"This is great news and thanks to our chairman Irvin Khoza and his management for pulling off such a deal," Tinkler said.

"The two players possess real qualities which will go a long way in making this team a force to be reckoned with. I am happy to have them both on board and we are looking forward to their contributions."

The talented Gumede was highly sought after and is one of the most gifted defenders in the PSL. His ability to read the game, his composure and rare instinct of being at the right place and the right time, made him Bucs biggest catch since Siyabonga Sangweni's move from Golden Arrows four years ago.

"Gumede is a class player. When Stars beat us in two knockout finals last season, it was his presence and ability to close down our strikers that cost us dearly.

"I have no doubt that he will fit in quickly with our defence."

Having made it clear that he wished to replace the late Senzo Meyiwa as Pirates' number one goalkeeper, Mpontshane would face stiff opposition from Brighton Mhlongo.

"I am ready for the challenge and it a dream come true to finally play for a big club like Pirates," Mpontshane said.

"I know what is expected of me and I am prepared to fight for my place. I am a friend of Mhlongo so joining them makes it easier for me. Pirates are a big team and that means I must be prepared to face criticism if I want to grow both as a person and a player."

With less than a week to go before the Premiership resumes, Tinkler said it was all systems go despite the departure of wingers Daine Klate and Tlou Segolela, who left for SuperSport United and Platinum Stars respectively.

"We will miss them especially Klate but life goes on. I've had close to five weeks working with these players and what I have seen here is a team ready to finish as runner-up unless Chiefs slip along the way," Tinkler said.

"We also have the Confederations Cup and Nedbank Cup to play for so, I am excited about the preparations."

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