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Orlando Pirates prepare MDC players should Covid-19 situation worsen

Mandla Ncikazi, co-coach of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mandla Ncikazi, co-coach of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Dec 9, 2021

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Durban - Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi says that his side is preparing MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) players for action in the event that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in local football.

Pirates’ Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs did not turn up for their most recent fixtures against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows due to mass infections within their staff and players.

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“Currently we are affected and infected but measures have been made by our management in terms of readying MDC players to be prepared if the situation gets worse. We are in the bubble currently and we have to thank the management for their vision in terms of accommodating the situation,” said Ncikazi.

While some clubs have been criticized for the way that they have handled the situation, Ncikazi believes that his club have been working hard to protect players.

“I wish to thank our management. They’ve been at the forefront and used good leadership. We’ve been in the bubble over the past few weeks and it’s been a really expensive exercise. We’ve been affected and infected as a club because we are in the same country as other teams. We are governed by the PSL who make the rules and we will be guided by them if there is a change,” said the Pirates co-coach.

Ncikazi’s comments came on the back of his sides’ 1-1 draw against AmaZulu in Durban, a result which left them seventh in the league. The game was evenly poised but the result would have been frustrating for Pirates given that it was their second consecutive draw after they played out to a 0-0 stalemate against Baroka FC last week.

“I will take the blame for such performances because I think the players are doing everything in their power. It’s just not happening. We totally dominated the second half. We were also the better team in the first half but may have dropped back a bit after we scored. The mistake that led to us conceding the second goal could have been avoided. We haven’t been a team that is conceding a lot but have been a team that is not scoring,” said Ncikazi.

Meanwhile, Ncikazi was pleased that Thembinkosi Lorch finally made his first appearance of the season following a long injury layoff. It will be hoped that the 28-year-old can inject firepower into the Pirates attack.

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“It was visible that he’s a special player when he came on. I’m happy he’s back. It’s his first game after a long time. There’s no shop which sells quality. He’s a top-quality player and we will hope that we can get better and grow,” he said.

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