Orlando Pirates’ new goalkeeper facing stiff competition at Bucs

With Brilliant Khuzwayo set to test his mettle at Orlando Pirates next season, Soccer Laduma looks how the goalkeeper stacks up against the current options at Mayfair.
The Buccaneers this month announced the signing of Khuzwayo as a free agent, with the keeper having opted against renewing his contract with Pirates’ Soweto rivals, Kaizer Chiefs.
After six years at Naturena, we break down the numbers that make up Khuzwayo’s career and capabilities.
It proved a difficult start to life with Chiefs for the keeper, who managed a combined two Absa Premiership appearances in his first two seasons with Amakhosi, before eventually breaking into the first-team reckoning in 2014/15, where he played in over half of Chiefs’ league matches.
His impressive returns of 10 clean sheets during that time hinted at his abilities, although he conceded eight goals in the other six matches he featured in and would again fall out of favour when it came to the starting XI selection, largely due to Itumeleng Khune’s phenomenal form between the sticks.
The following season, in 2015/16, Khuzwayo was limited to just one league appearance, where he conceded from a penalty kick in the 1-1 draw at Martizburg United, although he did manage to shut out Orlando Pirates in their goalless Telkom Knockout semi-final, where Chiefs eventually progressed on penalties.
However, Khuzwayo’s last two seasons in Naturena harboured just eight more Absa Premiership appearances, including only three in the 2017/18 campaign, where he conceded an average of once per game.
In Orlando, Khuzwayo now faces stiff competition in the forms of Jackson Mabokgwane and Wayne Sandilands, who between them played the majority of Pirates’ league matches last season on their way to a second-place finish.
For Mabokgwane, five clean sheets were the most he could muster from 12 top-flight appearances, conceding 10 goals during that time, while Sandilands was slightly more impressive in the percentages with five clean sheets and eight goals conceded in 11 showings.
Head coach Milutin Sredojevic also has a sturdy option in Siyabonga Mpontshane as third-choice, with seven outings awarded to the gloveman, with a return of two clean sheets and five goals allowed in.
However, with one of the question marks hanging over Pirates from last season having to do with the fact they conceded the most out of any of the PSL’s top four, having let in an average of just under a goal per game, Khuzwayo’s all-time stats show the keeper to concede once every second match, and the 28-year-old might just get his chance to put those numbers to work in Orlando Pirates’ No.1 shirt next season.

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