Why Linda Mntambo started slow at Bucs

Linda Mntambo of Pirates./Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Linda Mntambo of Pirates./Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates midfielder Linda Mntambo has cited losing his brother and grandmother as the main reason behind his slow start to life at the Buccaneers last season.

Mntambo, 30, joined Pirates from Chippa United carrying high expectations at the start of the past season.

This was because the lad from Orlando in Soweto had shone at the Port Elizabeth-based outing, scoring five goals and racking up two assists in 14 league matches after joining from second-tier side Jomo Cosmos in the second round of the previous campaign.

While arguing losing his brother and grandmother "in a short period of time" in January ravaged his maiden season at the Soweto heavyweights, Mntambo has vowed to deliver this term, to honour his fallen family members.

"I was unfortunate that in the beginning of the year, January, I had family responsibilities. In a short space of time I lost my brother and my grandmother," Mntambo reflected at the launch of the club's new kit at Orlando Stadium yesterday.

"Again, I was interrupted by injury. Those were part of the things that delayed by progress. Now I don't have any injuries. I am over that and wherever they are [his late loved ones], they are showering blessings upon me. I will make them proud."

"Figo", as Mntambo is known to his peers, faces an even stiffer competition in the midfield following the arrival of Siphesihle Ndlovu and Fortune Makaringe.

"Competition is always healthy. They [Bucs management] brought in quality players ...uS'phe Ndlovu and Forch Makaringe. I have played with Makaringe at Cosmos, not many people know that," stated Mntambo. "S'phe, out of all the new guys, he's the closest that I have been with in camp."

Pirates will don their new kit for the first time when they face arch-rivals Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup at FNB Stadium on Saturday (3pm). "It's important to win against Chiefs, especially with this new jersey.

We have not lost even a single pre-season friendly, so we don't want to spoil that against Chiefs," noted Mntambo, who scored once in 15 league appearances last season.

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