Orlando Pirates have ‘ethical’ reason for not fielding Brilliant Khuzwayo
Orlando Pirates have an “ethical obligation” not to rush goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo into first team action at Absa Premiership level‚ Bucs’ coach Milutin Sredojevic has said.
The third-placed Buccaneers meet 10th-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday night.
As Pirates have battled through their usual rotation of goal-minders this season trying to find a consistent performer between the posts‚ Khuzwayo’s absence has been notable.
Currently Wayne Sandilands has been earning an extended run.
And given some of the former Mamelodi Sundowns man’s well-documented previous struggles with costly errors being given a chance back in the first team‚ it would seem in Pirates’ interest to continue giving Sandilands game time.
But the talented Khuzwayo – who signed from Kaizer Chiefs in the off-season but spent the first half of the season ruled out due to ankle surgery – has not even featured on the bench for Bucs.
This despite him having played at least five games for Pirates’ Multichoice Diski Challenge reserve league team since January.
Sredojevic said Pirates want to be certain of Khuzwayo’s readiness at the step-up PSL level before he gets integrated into the first team.
“We can say that he is an integral part of the team. He is a wonderful gentlemen‚ because all of us love him and his personality‚ and his character of a good ‘atmosphere-making’ player‚” Sredojevic said.
“However‚ when it comes to the technical aspect we wanted‚ after everything that he has gone through‚ to find a bridge. And that bridge was playing in the MDC‚ earning match fitness and at the same moment getting a total clearance that at the highest level of competition – the PSL and Champions League – he could assist the team.
“We are praying hard and also working hard to see him play as soon as possible.
“Let everyone know that we shall approach this issue ethically‚ in order for him to reach the level that is required. And ‘ethically’ means that no match on this planet is bigger than the importance of giving respect to the player in terms of his medical state.”
Pirates come off a 4-1 thrashing of AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium last Saturday that was desperately needed in their title challenge‚ bringing to an end a six-match winless slump in all competitions.
Sredojevic‚ asked what it will take to reach the No 1 spot as Bucs covet a championship they have not won since 2012‚ said focusing entirely on Pirates’ next game against Steve Komphela’s well-drilled Arrows will be key.
“We have our strict targets that are focused now on the first thing that we are thinking about now‚ and that is how‚ against a top coach and top team called Golden Arrows‚ we want to march out and match them‚” the coach said.
Arrows are unbeaten in six league games.
PSL this weekend
- Maritzburg United 2 AmaZulu 1
- Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic (Loftus Versfeld Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
- Kaizer Chiefs v Highlands Park (Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ 6pm)
- Free State Stars v Black Leopards (Goble Park‚ 6pm)
- Bidvest Wits v Cape Town City FC (Bidvest Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
- Lamontville Golden Arrows v Orlando Pirates (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
- Baroka FC v Polokwane City (Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
- Chippa United v SuperSport United (Sisa Dukashe Stadium‚ 3.30pm)