Nedbank Cup: Pirates star slams condition of Orlando Stadium pitch

Deon Hotto played no small part in Orlando Pirates victory over Uthingathi FC in the Nedbank Cup last 32 but the Namibian star was not impressed by the state of the pitch at the club’s home ground.

It is not often that the homeside are handicapped by their own pitch but Hotto believes the surface made it very hard for Orlando Pirates to settle into their slick passing game.

Hotto under the collar over Orlando Stadium pitch

Josef Zinnbauer has Pirates purring at times with the style of play he has introduced but South African football is still beset by pitch preparation pit falls and the MTN 8 Champions struggled to get going but did enough to progress.

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Brian Hlongwa of Uthongathi challenged by Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates during the 2021 Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Uthongathi on the 06 February 2020 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

“It was a difficult game, there’s no easy games in this league. You could see they were coming but we managed to get the result,” Hotto told the club’s media team.

“The pitch… The conditions don’t allow us to play but we need to go through the pain. 

“For us as players it wasn’t as difficult because our video analyst guys had footage of them so they helped us a lot to see where their weaknesses are and where they are strong.

“We are through to the next round and ja, all focus is now going to the league – the Tuesday game, which is Cape Town City. This one is gone so we just need to focus on the next match.”

Orlando Pirates

Hotto showed great control to bring down a diagonal ball played to him on the edge of the area before squaring to Gabindho Mhango who buried a simple chance to send Pirates through to the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup for the first time in three seasons.

Nedbank Cup progression leaves Buccaneers competing on multiple fronts

Progression brings with it fresh challenges as Orlando Pirates seek to compete on multiple fronts. They will face Cape Town City on Tuesday before heading to Botswana for their Caf Confederation Cup Playoff first leg against Jwaneng Galaxy. The Sea Robbers have already bagged some silverware this season, but Zinnbauer must be aware that both the board and the fans will not be satisfied with an end to their multi-season trophy drought with more silverware still on offer.

The Sea Robbers will have to return to Orlando Stadium in a just a few days to face a dangerous Cape Town City team and the field is unlikely to show a marked improvement with just a couple of days in between the fixtures.

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