Okonkwo back at Pirates
ORLANDO Pirates have revealed six new signings with the standout addition being the return of Nigerian international Onyekachi Okonkwo to the club.
Okonkwo's first stint with the Bucs started in 2004 before he left for a spell with Swiss club FC Zurich.
The Nigerian has spent the past two years in Qatar playing for Al Kharitiyath.
Okonkwo indicated that the three-year contract he signed with Pirates could be the last stop on his football journey. He emphasised that his return to South Africa was not because of a failed career abroad.
"I did not fail (overseas). I spent three good years in Switzerland and the last two in Qatar since I left Pirates. I just decided to come back home. This is where I started my football. I don't want to say I am here to retire, but this is where I want to finish my football - at home," Okwonko said. The 30-year-old has a record of ill-discipline from his previous spell in the country, including threatening referee Daniel Bennett after being red-carded in a 2006 Telkom Charity Cup game against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Before his departure for Europe, the striker was accused of going AWOL from the Bucs team, but he and club chairman Irvin Khoza denied that there were any hard feelings between the player and club before he left.
Khoza said: "He was happy before he left. There were two teams interested in him at the time. If we were not happy we would not have been involved in any negotiations. He comes in at a perfect time after we lost (Isaac) Chansa. We hope to see the football that we have seen in him before, and that he can provide the excitement we want."
With Bucs having failed in their continental campaign in the African Champions League, the side will have another chance this coming season after clinching the champion ship.
Okon- kwo's continental experience could be an added boost as the player won the competition twice with his former club Enyimba in 2003 and 2004.
The club added another five players to their squad for the new season with the signing of former Free State Stars defender Ayanda Gcaba and midfielder Manti Moholo, Bidvest Wits defender Patrick Phungwayo, Black Leopards midfielder Khetowakhe Masuku and midfielder Aubrey Ngoma from newly promoted University of Pretoria.
Khoza said the continental competition would be their main focus, blaming a congested season and complacency on last season's failed campaign.