Is Chaine now Bucs’ undisputed No1?

Has Sipho Chaine done enough to retain Orlando Pirates No1 jersey even when Richard Ofori returns to fitness?

Having joined Pirates from Chippa United on the deadline day of the first transfer window of the season last September, Chaine, 26, has shown glimpses of brilliance with many people admiring his comfortability on the ball. Retired Pirates shot-stopper Avril Phali has backed Chaine to keep his berth even when Ofori comes back.

This Sipho boy is impressive. I see no need for the coaches to bench him when Ofori comes back because hes been doing well. In football, you cant be chopping and changing keepers unless there are injuries and suspensions, so Ofori must wait until Sipho is injured or suspended…he cant just walk straight into the XI, Phali told Sowetan yesterday.

The coaches must guard against killing Siphos confidence because changing him for Ofori without any valid reason would kill the boys confidence. Ofori must wait for Sipho to get injured or get suspended because I dont see Sipho dropping his performances.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is one of Chaines admirers, having publicly hailed his ability to initiate attacks from the back, thanks to the 26-year-old keepers crackerjack feet. The Bloemfontein Celtic Diski team graduate is already playing ahead of Pirates long-standing No.2 Siyabonga Mpontshane, whos more experienced than him, in Ofori absence.

In fact, it was Mpontshanes spate of errors that forced coach Jose Riveiro to resort to Chaine, who has since managed two clean sheets from six games across the league and the Nedbank Cup with five goals conceded in Bucs colours this season.

Owing to a knee injury that also saw him being omitted from the Ghana World Cup squad late last year, Ofori last featured in an official fixture when Pirates drew 1-all against AmaZulu in a league game at Orlando Stadium on October 14 last year, playing 55 minutes before being stretched off due to the very same knee injury that has sidelined him to date.

Sowetan has gathered that the Ghanaian has resumed training with the rest of the squad, meaning hes nearing full fitness. Before the knee injury, Ofori had played 13 games across all competitions this season, leaking seven goals with seven clean slates as well. On the other hand, Mpontshane has four clean sheets from six games across all competitions, conceding three times.

This content was originally published here.

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