'Hlatshwayo a missing puzzle in Bucs defence,' says Siyabonga Sangweni

Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatswayo (L) and his deputy Itumeleng Khune look on during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match between South Africa and Seychelles at FNB Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatswayo (L) and his deputy Itumeleng Khune look on during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match between South Africa and Seychelles at FNB Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Johannesburg.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

Orlando Pirates' defensive woes could be solved by the arrival of Thulani Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits, according to former defender Siyabonga Sangweni.

Since Sangweni and Lucky Lekgwathi retired four years ago, Pirates management have overlooked the defensive pairing department that they struggle in with Happy Jele proving the only dependable.

In the previous seasons, they have been conceding soft goals and that robbed them of titles.

But securing Hlatshwayo's signature, Sangweni believes, will fill the only missing piece of the puzzle to complement Jele. During their playing days, Sangweni and Lekgwathi complemented each other very well.

"It has been a while since I wanted Tyson [Hlatshwayo] to play for Pirates, they signed a great player there," Sangweni told Sowetan yesterday.

"I think if he doesn't change the way he plays, he will help the team. What I'm asking from Pirates fans is not to push him too hard because he is also a human being, they must give him enough time to settle."

This season, Pirates' problems have been exposed again, having conceded 26 goals in 23 matches.

Hlatshwayo is a leader, something which has been missing in their defence and Sangweni believes they are going to benefit a lot from him.

"He is a good player because he is also in the national team, so when you play for Pirates, it's like you are playing for the national team, particularly when it is a derby and the stadium is packed," Sangweni said.

"They need to work together with Jele and he must keep his style and add here and there to assist the team.

"But he is a quality and complete player, I am very happy that they signed him. The team will have a balance, I am not saying it was not there in the past, but his presence will add value."

What Pirates can benefit from Hlatshwayo is that he is also capable of going forward to score goals, something they have never enjoyed since Sangweni and Lekgwathi retired in 2016.

The 30-year-old utility defender has scored 20 goals for Wits and seven assists since his arrival from Ajax Cape Town in 2014.

"Actually, I am not saying he will replace me because our styles are too different, he has his way of playing...," Sangweni said.

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