‘Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate’ – not the case for Thulani Hlatshwayo ahead of SuperSport clash

Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates’ old slogan, ‘Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate’, will not hold true for a former Buccaneer central defender Thulani “Tyson” Hlatshwayo who will lead the charge for SuperSport United in today’s Dstv Premiership match at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Pretoria (kick-off 5.30pm).

Hlatshwayo left Pirates for Supersport at the end of last season after a two-year stay where he struggled for game time under co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids. On occasions he copped a fair bit of criticism from The Ghost when Pirates were struggling.

It is a memory that Hlatshwayo will want to erase, but he will fondly recall that when he made his Premiership debut for Ajax Cape Town in 2009, he scored against Pirates.

Supersport have had a nightmare start to the season and new coach Gavin Hunt will turn to Hlatshwayo for intelligence on Pirates. Hlatshwayo feels Supersport should capitalise on home advantage.

“You cannot come to my house and want to rule, it is a home ground advantage for Supersport,” said Hlatshwayo.

“We have the advantage. Even though we are playing a team of that magnitude, we saw how they were in Durban in terms of the support base and everything since the fans are back in the stadiums.

““It is for us to make sure we do the job and follow the instructions of the coach.”

Pirates defeated Royal AM 1-0 on Wednesday, thanks to Deon Hotto’s goal. The Namibia international was one of Pirates’ stars on the night, alongside midfielder Goodman got my first goal. We have been knocking and knocking and they have not been coming,” said Hotto.

“You just need to be patient and work hard. Getting a win, we are excited with the three points. We are looking forward to the Matsatsantsa game.”

Good news for Supersport is that goal poacher Bradley Grobler has been regaining his match fitness and he has a knack for scoring against Pirates.

Meanwhile, Royal AM will look to bounce back to winning ways against winless Marumo Gallants at Chatsworth Stadium today (kick-off 3pm). Royal AM have six points from four games. Gallants have three draws after as many matches.

Royal AM co-coach Dan Malesela feels despite losing to Pirates they are getting better.

“We’re very happy with the improvements that we have made in terms of playing and trying to find goals. We had half chances here and there, we could have done better, and decision-making was not good.

“It’s a work in progress. You have so little time to correct those mistakes that are done but we try and I think the signs are there that we’ll get better with time.”

Romain Folz, the Gallants coach, feels that the team are close to recording their maiden win of the campaign.

“I am not worried about that, on the fact that we did three draws in a row. “You can look at it in different ways,” said Folz.

“You can look at it with the fact that no one has been able to beat us, or you can look at it that we have not been able to win as yet.

“I think we are closer to winning, and we are able to identify what we need to fix going into the next game, and we will do as we always do and try to improve and rectify the small mistakes that we made.”

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