‘Allende is lazy!’ Mbatha explains how he capitalized on Chilean weakness to help Orlando Pirates win the Nedbank Cup

The Sea Robbers midfielder showed his quality on Saturday by stopping Masandawana midfield enroute to a Cup double after initial MTN8 triumph

Thalente Mbatha played his first major final last weekend and put in a great shift to help Orlando Pirates defeat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 to successfully defend their crown.

The SuperSport United loanee who joined the Sea Robbers in the January transfer window was a willing runner, and made it hard for the likes of Teboho Mokoena, Marcelo Allende and co. to string passes seamlessly at Mbombela Stadium.

It explains why the ex-Highlands Park midfielder was crowned the Man of the Match at the end of the game despite Patrick Maswanganyi and Relebohile Mofokeng getting the goals that neutralized Themba Zwane's strike while Sipho Chaine also stopped Lucas Ribeiro's penalty.

Lazy Chilean? How Mbatha managed to nab Allende and capitalize on his weakness

In an interview with Radio 2000, the 24-year-old explained how he covered Makhehlene Makhaula and at the same time ensured his impact was felt by the opponent.

“I played with [Mokoena] at SuperSport, so I knew it was gonna be difficult for him, but I know Allende is lazy,” Mbatha opened up.

“He doesn’t press as he should, he acts like he presses but doesn’t come. So I knew if I drove with the ball, they wouldn’t press, and it would open up the space.

“My role in the midfield is to work hard. I’m the youngest, so I must have more legs than Makhaula. I have more pace than him, so I can also cover for him. 

“It becomes difficult to break us because we both work hard. We also have the freedom to interchange in going forward or staying.”

Why Bucs should not let Mbatha go

Despite coming in probably as a back-up for Bucs – who were chasing the Nedbank Cup and a place in the Caf Champions League, Mbatha opted to give everything to win the heart of Riveiro.

He managed to beat the likes of Thabang Monare, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, and Fortune Makaringe – who has since been released by the team, to a regular starting berth.

During his spell at the Soweto giants, Mbatha managed to play 16 games across all competitions with a goal on his name.

Riveiro will need Mbatha next season since he has proved he has all the qualities to be successful at Pirates.

‘Allende is lazy!’ Mbatha explains how he capitalized on Chilean weakness to help Orlando Pirates win the Nedbank Cup
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.