Sat Oct 22 15:40:39 CAT 2016

Mutombo gets Pirates' ship back on course

By unknown | Feb 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Meshack Khotha

Orlando Pirates coach Bibey "Mr Philosophy'' Mutombo's plan to take his side away from the relegation zone seems to be on track.

A slim 1-0 victory over a game Santos in a Castle Premiership match at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday night did much to further their cause.

Bucs have now moved from 12th to 10th spot on the log, with 24 points from 17 games. Mutombo refused to get too excited after the hard- fought win.

He believes there is still a lot of work to be done to bring stability to the team.

"My initial objective is to move the team out of the relegation zone and thereafter to work hard on finding good combinations," said the Bucs mentor.

"The team is still going through a transformation process and we have to take the game step by step."

Roger De Sa, his counterpart at Santos, couldn't hide his disappointment and lambasted referee Robert Sithole for decisions that went against his team, but he failed to elaborate.

It was not a walk in the park for the home side as they battled to break down the Santos defence marshalled by the towering Musa Otieno.

Despite dominating the first half, Pirates had to wait for 22 minutes in the first half to score the solitary goal through striker Rudzani Ramadzuli.

Defender Innocent Mdledle floated a high cross from the left flank to unmarked captain Benedict "Tso'' Vilakazi on the right of Santos' danger area.

Vilakazi's neat pass found Ramad- zuli, who made no mistake with a low shot.

Bucs midfielder Onyekachi Okonkwo, who made his return from suspension, played a pivotal role in the middle of the park, with Bennet Chenene and Vilakazi also excelling .

Pirates' quartet of Lucky Lekgwathi, Lehlohonolo Seema, Lucas Thwala and Mdledle also put in a command performance.

They easily closed down Santos' threatening attempts at goal from Dipsy Selolwane and company.

At one stage Pirates' keeper Francis Chansa was called on to stop Santos midfielder Thando Mngomeni's ferocious shot from just outside the penalty box.


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