Following Orlando Pirates’ latest acquisition of attacking duo Ndumiso Mabena and Craig Martin, former Bucs captain Benedict ‘Tso’ Vilakazi has been highly critical of the signing of Craig Martin, claiming that Martin is not a Pirates type of player.
Pirates confirmed the signing of Mabena as a free agent after his unceremonious exit from Royal AM on a one-and-a-half season deal, while Martin was signed from Cape Town City for an undisclosed fee for two-and-a-half seasons.
Vilakazi, 40, who still holds Pirates’ all-time club record for goals having netted 58 in 170 appearances, questioned why his former club bought Martin.
“Craig Martin? Not a Pirates man,” Vilakazi said.
“Maybe he will prove me wrong but from what I know of him at Cape Town City, he’s not a player for Pirates.
“I don’t know, maybe Pirates have been blinded by signing him but I don’t think he’s good enough for Pirates.
The diminutive former Bucs midfield maestro questioned Martin’s stats for the current campaign which has been rather disappointing. He is yet to register any goals or assists in 13 appearances across all competitions.
“I still don’t understand how Pirates went for him because sometimes we always say clubs look at stats, but in his case [Martin], Pirates failed to check his stats.
“It also costs the team big time in terms of decision-making from those who should be checking such crucial things.
“I still don’t believe he’s good enough for a big team like Pirates. The stats are an issue and they are there to show. It’s impossible that he can cheat the stats.
“Me I don’t understand what Pirates were looking for in signing Martin. Are they looking for a right-back? I don’t know!
“Maybe he was bought to provide some much-needed competition for [Monnapule] Saleng on the right wing. I don’t know. Unless the coach is thinking of changing his system,” he added.
Despite being 35, Vilakazi was however still full of praise for the club’s re-signing of Mabena who played for the Mayfair-based outfit between 2009 and 2014 before departing to play for the likes of the now-defunct Platinum Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic, and most recently Royal AM.
“I think with Mabena, yeah I will agree with the signing of Mabena.
“You need a striker like Mabena who has the experience and has also been in the game for quite a long time.
“He is a player in a better position in terms of delivery and puts in the work in terms of playing in the pocket.
“For me, that’s a very good one [Mabena signing],” Tso concluded.
With the arrival of Mabena and Martin, the Buccaneers are reportedly looking to offload attacking trio Kwame Preprah, Terrence Dzvukamanja, and Bienvenu Eva Nga who have fallen out of favour under Spanish coach Jose Riveiro. They have made a total of just 15 appearances in Pirates’ 17 games across all competitions this term which could spell danger for them come January.