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Orlando Pirates need to toughen up mentally, admits Ndlondlo

Orlando Pirates player Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo during a Caf Champions League match against Djabal Club at Orlando Stadium this season.
Orlando Pirates player Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo during a Caf Champions League match against Djabal Club at Orlando Stadium this season.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates midfielder Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo has challenged himself to improve his goal ratio in the second half of the campaign.

Ndlondlo, whose energy and destructive skills can be a handful when he is on song, scored one goal and managed two assists in 21 games across all competitions in the opening half of the season.

The 28-year-old said he needs more goals and assists in 2024, starting with Bucs' return from the seven-week Africa Cup of Nations break with their titanic DStv Premiership clash against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (8pm).

“I am not entirely happy with my contribution this season but with the little glimpse I’ve shown, I am confident I am getting somewhere. There’s always room for improvement,” Ndlondlo said during his club's visit to the Zodwa Khoza Foundation Skills and Entrepreneurial Development Centre in Diepkloof, Soweto late last week.

Pirates donated goods worth R100,000 courtesy of the Goals for Charity initiative as part of winning the MTN8 earlier this season.

“I really want to improve in the second half of the season by scoring more goals and providing more assists because that would help the team win more games.”

Pirates collected 25 points from a possible 48 in the first round of the season. A team that had high hopes of challenging six-time successive champions Mamelodi Sundowns closer than a runner-up spot by 16 points in 2022-23 are 13 points behind the Brazilians in 2023-24. Downs also have two games in hand.

Ndlondlo thinks coach Jose Riveiro's Bucs need to fine tune their mental approach to achieve better consistency. 

“There are not a lot of things that need to be changed. It’s only the mindset. Other than that, we’ve been doing well, so in the second round of the season our focus will be mainly on improving our mental strength.”

Pirates were scheduled to return from the break to host Chippa United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday but the Premier Soccer League postponed its midweek games due to third-placed Bafana Bafana's late arrival back from the Nations Cup at 4am on Wednesday .

Fixtures

Friday:

SuperSport United v Stellenbosch FC, Peter Mokaba Stadium (7pm)

Saturday:

Moroka Swallows v Polokwane, Dobsonville Stadium (3.30pm)

Chippa United v Cape Town City, Buffalo City Stadium (3.30pm)

Cape Town Spurs v AmaZulu, Athlone Stadium (5.30pm)

Sekhukhune United v Richards Bay, Peter Mokaba Stadium (5.30pm)

Mamelodi Sundowns v Orlando Pirates, Loftus Versfeld (8pm)

Sunday:

Royal AM v Kaizer Chiefs, Harry Gwala Stadium (3.30pm)

TS Galaxy v Lamontville Golden Arrows, Mbombela Stadium (7.30pm)

Sowetan


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