June 24, 2021

I had to cover lot of distance – Orlando Pirates’ Motshwari admits Memela gave him hard time

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The experienced midfield maestro was left to rue the chances Bucs failed to convert against a resilient Usuthu side

Orlando Pirates midfielder Ben Motshwari admitted that it was difficult to contain his former teammate Luvuyo Memela as the Soweto giants drew with AmaZulu FC on Saturday night.

The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in their opening match of the 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season which was played at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium in Durban.

The Buccaneers opened the scoring through Frank Mhango, but Lehlohonolo Majoro levelled matters for Usuthu and ultimately, the two sides settled for a draw.

Motshwari produced a Man of the Match performance as he worked hard to protect the Pirates defence. 

“It was a difficult one. In the first-half, we were not in the game because they were coming at us,” Motshwari told the club’s social platforms.  

“But it was due to the mistakes we were making as we kept losing the ball. In the second-half, we managed to rectify the mistakes which we committed in the first-half.

“We were pushing for a goal, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get one tonight, we created quite a few half chances which we should not convert.”

The 29-year-old was tasked with man-marking tricky attacking midfielder Memela, who recently left Pirates for AmaZulu in a surprise move. 

Usuthu were awarded a penalty after Memela was fouled in the box by Fortune Makaringe and former Pirates striker Majoro scored from the rebound after his effort from the spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands

“It was difficult for me especially playing against Memela because I know him. He likes playing in between the lines, making all those runs,” Motshwari said. 

“He was making runs all over the pitch [and] joining me on the sides. I had to cover a lot of distance tonight. I did manage him [well] tonight even though he nearly scored in the last few minutes. All is good.” 

Motshwari, who won the 2016/17 PSL title with the now-defunct Bidvest Wits, believes AmaZulu have done well in the transfer market. 

“Looking at the AmaZulu squad I think this season they have signed quality players,” he added. 

“Coming here, away from home and collecting a point against them I think it is fair a point, even though, we would have loved to get three points tonight.” 

AmaZulu have also signed former Pirates strikers Augustine Mulenga and Siphelele Mthembu and ex-Kaizer Chiefs captain Siphiwe Tshabalala.