Plenty more to come from Orlando Pirates‚ says Muhsin Ertugral

MUHSIN ERTUGRAL (Orlando Pirates). Gallo images
MUHSIN ERTUGRAL (Orlando Pirates). Gallo images

With the way the two teams started in their first matches‚ Saturday night’s MTN8 quarterfinal between Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium (8.15pm) is shaping up as a classic cup tie.

Gavin Hunt’s Wits were all pace and energy and ominous physical presence‚ and showed off their increased depth in quality this season‚ starting their Premier League campaign muscling out Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 at Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.

Pirates started slowly under new coach Muhsin Ertugral in their league opener against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium the following night‚ but clicked into gear in the second half on the back of a Tendai Ndoro hat trick to run out 3-1 winners.

It was an early glimpse of things to come by two sides packed with quality players who are expected to challenge for the league‚ and cup trophies‚ this season.

Ertugral said Bucs still have plenty of room for improvement as they adjust to an impressive new technical staff that include assistant coach Bradley Carnell and the scientific fitness compartment of Elsa Storm and Andre Volsteedt.

“We have such quality in this team. It was‚ for me‚ about how quickly our technical staff and the supporting group of fitness coaches could adapt to the style and possibility of the team.

“We have a wing-back like Thabo Matlaba who comes through the middle. So you need to find certain elements in the team to suit him.

“How can we have him in a pattern and certain organisational forms that will suit him? We have exceptional wingers. And how can we find a system that suits a player like Tendai Ndoro‚ for instance?

“These are things we will look into daily. And gradually you will see a style. It’s not a Pirates style‚ but a style that this team will develop into in the next couple of months.

“It’s not ready but I think you could get a glimpse of it against Arrows.”

Hunt was pleased at a display on Tuesday where new signings Xola Mlambo‚ Thabang Monare‚ Eleazar Rodgers and especially the hard-running Gabadinho Mhango gave Wits a new look. Headline signings Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele were even left on the bench.

“It was good‚ especially from the point of view of integrating the new players. And we’ve still got Malajila‚ Ngele and Pentjie Zulu‚ and one or two others still to come‚” Hunt said.

“We’re trying to play in a way that suits the players. And I thought overall it was excellent.

“There are one or two players I might bring in against Pirates. But we’ll have a look at how they set themselves up.”

For Ertugral‚ the honeymoon is still to be enjoyed but the pressure to reverse Bucs’ run without silverware – with one trophy in four years despite reaching seven cup finals – will show‚ especially as the great Soweto club prepares to turn 80 next year.

“For me it’s a privilege to be involved in a club with such a magnitude of history‚” the Turk said.

“It’s quite normal that the expectations are high. And we will do everything to put the smiles on faces of those involved in the club.

“I’ve been around a bit to know what is expected at a club like this. But I also know what a good team we have.”

Pirates have new signing Abbubaker Mobara back from the suspension that kept the classy former Ajax Cape Town prospect out of Bucs’ season-opener‚ with Ertugral having said he intends to play the versatile player in defensive midfield.

In Saturday's early quarterfinal Platinum Stars host Chippa United at Royal Bafokeng sPorts Palace (3pm).

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