Saturday 26th July 2003

Spurs' visit to South Africa will be welcomed by the people of that country, who haven't had the chance to see the team since their last visit in 1963.  The first match of the two game tour pits Spurs against Orlando Pirates, who are the current PSL Champions.  Here are details of some of their players.

The recent signing of Daniel 'Sailor"' Tshabalala, from Silver Stars, has seen him be brought in to replace former captain Thabo Mngomeni.  The coach feels that they are a little weak on the left wing where Sibusiso Mazibuko plays and Shaun Potgieter lacks confidence.

Other players who may be signed up by Saturday are former Santos winger Patrick Thwala, who was at Sundowns at the end of last season, South Africa international central defender Edward Malinga who will clearly be back-up for injury-prone Papi Khomane and replacement for captain Mbulelo Mabizela who is venturing to Europe to play his football for French club Lille.  

Currently starring in defence, Gerald Raphahlela is a big obstacle to overcome being a rugged centre half, meanwhile last season's left back Innocent Chikoya was transfer listed in an attempt to reduce the number of foreign players in the side to the League's limits.  Avery John, a Trinidad international (and relation of Stern John) has joined from Irish club Longford Town and wing back Felix Musasa Muamba, distinguished by his trademark white boots and gloves, will give the Buccaneers an option down the flank.

Defender Lucky Lekgwathi is likely to miss the game through injury picked up in an African Nations Cup qualifier against Burundi, but last season's leading league goalscorer - Lesley Manyathela - could be one player to feature who could cause the Spurs defence most problems with his pace and strength.  It is a little worrying though that his nickname is "Slow Poison" !!  He is available after going to Crete for a trial with OFI.  Young player of the year Lebohang Mokoena has been selected for the South Africa Under-20 squad and is a young forward with great potential.  He has only just broken into the first team, but great things are expected of him.

Tottenham will face a side that has done well to win it's first Championship and will show some of the attributes that the national side displayed when they met England recently ... strength, pace and no little amount of skill.  It should be an interesting game !!

Orlando Pirates website - www.orlandopiratesfc.com
Coverage : - 
TV - South African TV   Channel SS5 at 15.15 p.m.



Orlando Pirates   2     Tottenham   1     (Half-time score : 0-0)
Saturday 26th July 2003
Venue : -  ABSA Park, Durban, South Africa
Kick Off : -  14.30 p.m. (15.30 p.m. - Local time)
Weather : -  Hot !, but windy.
Crowd : -  20,000
Referee : -  Petros Mathabela
Teams : -  
Orlando Pirates : Makweni; Mabizela (c), Khomane, Musasa, Netshodwe; Phakathi (Dinha 83), Makhanya (Lekoelea 63), Thwala, Tshabalala, Kabanga (Kauleza 53), Manyathala
Unused subs: - Tlale,  Tau, Mazibuko, Leremi, Kubheka, Mofedi, Cele, Portgieter, Manenzhe 

Tottenham : -  Burch; Carr, Gardner, Perry; Taricco (Galbraith 86), Etherington, Redknapp (c) (Anderton 81), Toda, Davies; Gus Poyet (Keane 66), Postiga
Unused subs: -  Richards, King, Bunjevcevic, Kelly, Marney, Acimovic,  Zamora

Colours : -  

Orlando Pirates  -  Black shirts with white trim, black shorts, white socks

Colours : -  

Tottenham - All sky blue


Scorers : -  
Orlando Pirates  -  
Lekoelea 76, Manyathala (pen) 85

Tottenham -  Musasa (o.g) 77

Cards : -  
Orlando Pirates  -   -

Tottenham -  - 

In a buzzing atmosphere, the South African champions Orlando Pirates, fielding four players making their debuts, proved too much for Tottenham and went on to win 2-1.

The fact that the grass at the ASBA stadium in Durban was too long to suit Spurs' game did not help proceedings and the home side roared out of the blocks wanting to show Tottenham that the South African game had come on since their last visit to the country back in 1963.

While Spurs had some periods of possession, they failed to penetrate and in the hot conditions they were stonewalled by the Bucs defence.  There was a feeling that the home team were a little over-awed by the fact that they were playing the big names of Tottenham Hotspur to begin with, but when they settled down after the break, they ran at Spurs and caused problems, with Joseph Makhanya and Patrick Thwala flying down the wings.  Jimmy Kauleza and Lesley 'Slow Poison' Manyathela had a few chances but they failed to beat Rob Burch in the Spurs goal.

Daniel 'Sailor' Tshabalala had a good start to his Pirates career with an industrious appearance in midfield, but another midfielder was not so well received.   There were jeers from the faithful when Steve Lekoelea came on in place of Makhanya with twenty minutes remaining.

There was generally a carnival atmosphere as the home crowd got to see some of the players they regularly watch on TV in live Premiership matches and they erupted when Lekoelea struck a free-kick, conceded by a Taricco foul, from just outside the penalty area out of Rob Burch's reach and into the top left hand corner of the goal to give Pirates the lead.  It seems as though South African crowds can be as fickle as ones in England !!

Spurs managed to get back into the game straight away when Helder Postiga got the ball off the home defence, beat a couple of players and hit a shot that seemed to be going wide, but the white glove wearing right back Felix Muasa got a touch on the ball that took it past keeper Makweni.  The play almost immediately swung back to the Tottenham end and Manyathala showed his shoot on sight policy with two low shots that made Burch move sharply.

One of the interesting battles that took place was between Carr and Thwala, which threatened to be a flash-point during the match and, as usual, Taricco got involved in some 'handbags'.  When it looked like Tottenham might have salvaged something from the game, Pirates kept pressing and in the 85th minute of the game Stephen Carr handled in the box, blocking Thwala's cross and giving him the last laugh, to provided the hosts with a final chance to win the match.  The penalty was grateful converted by 'Slow Poison', who sent Burch the wrong way and there was only one more chance before the end of the action, when Gardner got his head to a Galbraith cross in the last minute, but got it over the bar, leaving the Buccaneers the winners.

The Pirates were a physical side and showed that they had quite a bit of skill, sometimes taunting Spurs with some of their tricks as the visitors wilted in the heat.  This was something that Hoddle was not pleased about and it started a short war of words in the media about the alleged 'lack of respect' shown by Pirates and the Pirates Brand manager claimed that this was the way that South African football was played and that Hoddle must have expected his player to 'seeking autographs' from the visiting superstars !!

While it was a warm-up game for the Premier League season and a side that will not be starting in that competition, Spurs showed a little less commitment than they perhaps should have, although trying to avoid injury is just as important as the result in games like these.  Tottenham produced few direct efforts on goal - probably the best being Toda's drive from a clearance which the keeper kept out with his legs - and that was disappointing.  However, the game in this country has improved, as England found out on their visit, although if it was a truly competitive game, I would take Spurs to win every time.


Mick Vanstraaten

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