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Siyabonga Sangweni: Pirates rushed Thulani Hlatshwayo into the captaincy

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt welcomes new signing Thulani Hlatshwayo to the club.
SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt welcomes new signing Thulani Hlatshwayo to the club.
Image: SuperSport United FC/Twitter

Former Orlando Pirates defender Siyabonga Sangweni believes being given too many responsibilities too early is one of the reasons Thulani Hlatshwayo couldn’t live up to expectations at the Sea Robbers.

Hlatshwayo arrived at Pirates in 2020 with a big reputation as the Bafana Bafana captain and player who had led Bidvest Wits to their first league title in 2016-17. But after a disappointing spell at the club, the centreback reached an agreement to part ways with the Buccaneers last month.

The former Ajax Cape Town star has since joined his former Wits coach Gavin Hunt at SuperSport United.

Sangweni, who was vocal in his opinion that Pirates should sign Hlatshwayo, thinks the club shouldn’t have rushed into handing the defender the captaincy.

The retired Bafana player believes Hlatshwayo should have been given time to settle at Pirates, while long-time captain Happy Jele continued to lead the Soweto giants.

“The matter of Thulani is a bit sad for me because I was one of the people who called for him to be brought to Pirates,” said Sangweni.

“But I think when he got there, they put him under a lot of pressure without giving him enough time to find his feet.

“I think he was promised a lot even before he got to join the team. I don’t think it’s right that there are already talks that you are going to be the captain before you've officially joined the team.”

Sangweni feels if Hlatshwayo was paired with Jele at centre-back they would have formed a solid combination.

“When they played [Ntsikelelo] Nyauza and Thulani, they didn’t form that good a combination, but I think when they played him with Happy, he did well and there was a balance in that defence,” Sangweni said.

“That’s because Happy is a leader, he knows a lot about marshalling the defence line.

“That’s why if you look at the games where their defence didn’t do very well, most of the time it was because Happy wasn’t there, because he is the pillar of that defence. I think they should have paired Thulani with Happy.”


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