Orlando Pirates is a team known for respecting their fallen footballers with retiring their jersey numbers from playing again. They have done the same with the late Lesley Manyathela who used jersey number 22 before he died in 2003. Now the jersey number 22 is no longer used at Pirates.
Another jersey number which was retired was that of the late Clifford Moleko which is jersey number 13. Moleko died while he was on his way to Cape Town where he was loaned to Ajax Cape Town from Orlando Pirates. The team retired his jersey number after that.
Senzo Meyiwa died in October 2014 and his jersey number one has not been retired following an agreement by management not to retire jersey numbers of any fallen hero due to the fact that they may run out of jersey numbers and will use some other ways of remembering and respecting their fallen heroes.
With the current Pirates team unable to perform and win trophies for the team, fans are now thinking deep regarding the possibilities making the team not to win a trophy. They are suggesting that Senzo’s jersey number should be retired and things would get back to normal.
The jersey number 1 is currently used by Brighton Mhlongo and fans are suspecting that it is a curse that is making him to lose focus during some Pirates games where he had let in goals that were not supposed to be goals they conceded.
The slump in form by Brighton Mhlongo has led the technical team to rotate the goalkeepers equally to find the man who will be able to keep goals for the team but that has also backfired as other goalkeepers have also conceded poor goals with the recent display by Jackson Mabokgwane where he let in a ball that he was supposed to just catch easily.
Felipe Ovono also conceded a few goals that were not supposed to have been goals and he has now been released after failing to make the grades at Pirates. Surprisingly Ovono has been outstanding for his national team Equatorial Guinea and is still regarded as the number one goalkeeper.
The retired jersey numbers are only used for CAF games as per CAF rules and they are not used in the PSL. Pirates’ fans were left confused after they realized that jersey number 1 was used by Brighton Mhlongo in the current PSL season.
Fans are suggesting that Brighton should use his old number which is 16 and not use no 1 again as it is a sign of disrespect for the late Senzo Meyiwa. This is a serious plea and Dr. Irvin Khoza should react as soon as possible to the matter as it also involves the Meyiwa family as they won’t be happy for their son’s number to be used while other were retired.
The decision could also affect Brighton’s performance to bounce back for his current slump of form. Brighton has shown earlier signs for being a great goalkeeper at Pirates and was also included in the Bafana Bafana squad in previous games.