After a relatively slow start to the season, Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi has identified three key areas that the Buccaneers need to work on during the upcoming FIFA break.
Two wins, three draws and one loss has been the story of Pirates’ start to the DStv Premiership campaign. The Soweto giants sit in sixth place on the log standings and still within touching distance of the league’s early pacesetters.
Speaking to the media following their one-all draw with Cape Town City this weekend, Ncikazi highlighted the areas of improvement for the Buccaneers.
On average, the Buccaneers scale their opponents when it comes to possession. Pitates have had a 51% ball possession in the six matches that they have played this season. It is only against Mamelodi Sundowns (40%) and against Cape Town City (44%) where Pirates were inferior to their opponents, something that Ncikazi feels needs work.
“[There are] many things but maybe [the] priority is the ability to dominate possession. Have the comfort if we say that we are possession-based in our attack, then let it be clear. We must dominate when we have the ball, while we adapt to what the opponents are doing. We must impose possession,” the coach told the media after the game.
“We must be highly effective in transitions in attack, create more opportunities, which I think is a downfall on our side,” Ncikazi told the media.
Here, the coach’s point is vindicated. On average, Pirates muster four shots on target per game, the highest of which is five, which they accomplished in three matches. This is in stark comparison to leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who manage six shots on target per game. Pirates’ transition game, which has been identified by Ncikazi as their downfall, is largely lacking. The Buccaneers have scored just one goal from a counter-attacking situation this season.
Of the seven goals Pirates have scored this season, three of them have been from set plays (1 direct free kick, two corners) , which shows that it is an area that the team is focusing on. However, given Pirates’ aerial dominance, Ncikazi feels this area of their play needs more attention in the upcoming break.
“Be ruthless in set plays if we have the size, the capacity and the aerial prowess that we have, we should be doing more on set plays. I know it also depends on delivery and those are areas that one has to improve,” he added.