Unfamiliar faces will report at Pirates

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Expect some new faces at Mayfair this morning when the Orlando Pirates squad reassemble for a "meet and mingle" and medicals as their pre-season build-up kicks off.

Among missing familiar faces will be those of Nigerian midfielder Onyekachi Okonkowo, Zambian Isaac Chansa and it is anyone's guess if Lelo Mbele's will be present.

Expected to report for the first time are Malawian playmaker Joseph "Shakira" Kamwendo, Zimbabwean goal poacher Ralph Matema, Swazi international Mzwandile "Toyota" Mamba and former Lamontville Golden Arrows strong man Mlungisi Gumbi.

It is unclear if Cavan Sibeko, Mpho Rashete, Gary McNab, Tony Coyle, whom the Buccaneers are not keen to retain, will report.

Word from the Bucs camp, though, is that the newcomers at today's orientation will not be the last as they were still after two local midfielders and a foreign striker.

"We are anticipating a good turnout," said Bucs' spokesman Mickey Modisane. " We are not expecting any truancy."

Last season was not a particularly good one for Bucs, but they intend giving a good account as early as next month's Vodacom Challenge in which they will take on English Premiership team Tottenham Hotspur and Kaizer Chiefs.

In spite of last season's below par performance, Pirates will next Monday honour some of their outstanding performers and left-back Innocent Mdledle is in line for a handful of club awards.

The catergories are: the Vodacom Player of the Year: (Benedict Vilakazi, Lucas Thwala, Mdledle).

Sansui Player's Player of the Year: (Determined by players)

Vodacom Most Improved Player: (Mdledle, Lucky Lekgwathi, Jabu Mahlangu)

Chairman's Award - (Determined by the chairman)

Prospect of the Year: (Bongani Cashibe, Bennett Chenene, Happy Jele)

Golden Boot: (Vilakazi)

Standard Bank Save of the Year: (Francis Chansa, Avril Phali, Senzo Meyiwa)

Goal of the Year: (Lelo Mbele; Benedict Vilakazi, Excellent Walaza - Player of the Year: (a new category by fans).