Orlando Pirates

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For the Namibian football club with the same name, see Orlando Pirates Windhoek.
Orlando Pirates FC
Orlando Pirates FC (logo).png
Full name Orlando Pirates Football Club
Nickname(s) Buccaneers, Bucs, Ezikamagebhula, Sea Robbers, Ghosts, Happy People, Amabhakabhaka,
Ezimnyama Ngenkani (The black ones)
Founded 1937, as Orlando Boys Club
Ground Orlando Stadium, Soweto, Johannesburg
Ground Capacity 40,000
Chairman Irvin Khoza
Coach Serbia Vladimir Vermezović
League ABSA Premiership
2013–14 ABSA Premiership, 4th
alternate logo

Orlando Pirates FC is a South African football (soccer) club based in Parktown, Johannesburg that plays in the Premier Soccer League.

The club was founded in 1937 and was originally based in Orlando, Soweto.[1] They are named 'Pirates' after the 1940 film The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn.[2] Orlando Pirates are the first club since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996 to have won three major trophies in a single season back to back, having won the domestic league, the Nedbank Cup and the MTN 8 during the 2010-11 season and domestic league, Telkom Knockout and the MTN 8 during the 2011-12 season.[3] They are the only South African team to have won the CAF Champions League, which they did in 1995 and they were the runners up of 2013 CAF Champions League after they were defeated 3-1 on aggregate by Al Ahly of Egypt.


Orlando Pirates is one of South Africa’s oldest football clubs having been established in 1937 in Orlando East, Soweto.[1][4] The club's performances over the years have served as an inspiration for young soccer players to strive to play the Beautiful Game at the highest level in the black and white colours of the ‘Buccaneers’.

Early years[edit]

The founders of Orlando Pirates included offspring of migrant workers who moved from rural areas to work in the gold mines of Gauteng. Boys in Orlando came together at every available opportunity in open spaces and in informal groupings to play soccer. That original club was called the Orlando Boys Club.

In 1940, Buthuel Mokgosinyane, the first president, bought the first team kit with his own funds. Orlando Boys participated in Johannesburg Bantu Association's Saturday League, where they won the Division Two title and gained promotion to Division One in 1944.[1] Andrew Bassie, a key member of the team, suggested the new name 'Orlando Pirates'. The team composed the camp's war cry 'Ezimnyama Ngenkani'.

Since 1971[edit]

Orlando Pirates supporters.

Over the years, Orlando Pirates – also known as ‘The Happy People’ – have accumulated a record of successes having won the National Professional Soccer League title in 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1976, the National Soccer League title in 1994, and the Premier Soccer League title four times, in 2001, 2003, 2011 and 2012. Their first place finish in the 2010/2011 domestic league campaigns has generated much excitement among the club’s vast fan-base.

In 2011, Orlando Pirates enjoyed tremendous success by winning the 2010/2011 Premier Soccer League, The Nedbank Cup, The MTN 8 Cup and The Telkom Knockout. This year was dubbed as the "The Happy Year"

Many other cup triumphs in domestic soccer have also been recorded, including Vodacom Challenge title victories in the inaugural 1999 tournament and in 2005. But the African continent and other areas of the soccer world took notice of Orlando Pirates Football Club when they won the African Champions Cup (now known as the Champions League) in 1995 and the African Super Cup a year later. Pirates were and still are the only Southern Hemisphere club to have won the African Champions League. This achievement resulted in the club being honoured by the first State President of the new democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela – another first for a South African sporting team.

In 2005, Orlando Pirates achieved Superbrand status. Superbrands is an international company that identifies and rewards the leading brands around the world; Pirates are the only South African sports team next to the Springboks and Proteas to be given this status.[5]

Club chairman, Irvin Khoza, who also served on the 2010 World Cup Bid Committee, must be credited with the club’s rise to fame over the past few years as the Orlando Pirates supporters – who are nicknamed ‘The Ghosts’ – have had much to cheer about.

Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung and his Jomo Cosmos counterpart Jomo Sono were popular players of the highest calibre for the Buccaneers before starting their own clubs. Their playing history is deeply entrenched in the black and white colours of Orlando Pirates.

In 2005, the team, along with Interza Lesego and Ellis Park Stadium Ltd, announced its acquisition of a 51% share in Ellis Park Stadium, making it the first majority black owned stadium in South Africa.[6]

The Soweto derby[edit]

Main article: Soweto derby

The Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is one of the most fiercely contested derbies in world soccer. And in contrast to most of the other games played in the Premier Soccer League in South Africa, matches between the two arch rivals attract a full house of supporters almost without fail.


Club records[edit]

Orlando Pirates youth team players.

Premier Soccer League record[edit]

Club officials/Technical team[edit]

Orlando Pirates starting line-up in 2009.

First team squad[edit]

As of 12 March, 2015

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Equatorial Guinea GK Felipe Ovono
2 South Africa DF Ayanda Gcaba
3 South Africa DF Patrick Phungwayo
4 South Africa DF Happy Jele
5 South Africa MF Mpho Makola
6 South Africa MF Thandani Ntshumayelo
8 South Africa DF Thabo Matlaba
9 Andorra MF Francisco Cavalcanti
11 South Africa MF Sifiso Myeni
12 South Africa MF Lehlogonolo Masalesa
14 South Africa DF Lucky Lekgwathi
15 South Africa MF Thabo Qalinge
16 South Africa GK Brighton Mhlongo
17 South Africa FW Lennox Bacela
18 Senegal MF Issa Sarr
20 South Africa MF Oupa Manyisa
No. Position Player
21 South Africa DF Siyabonga Sangweni (Captain)
24 South Africa MF Khethokwakhe Masuku
28 South Africa DF Rooi Mahamutsa
31 South Africa FW Thamsanqa Gabuza
32 South Africa DF Tshepo Gumede
34 South Africa DF Ntsikelelo Nyauza
36 South Africa DF Mbongeni Gumede
37 South Africa FW Maselaelo Seanego
38 Mozambique FW Helder Pelembe
40 South Africa GK Siyabonga Mpontshane
44 South Africa GK Ntando Nkala
45 South Africa FW Lehlohonolo Majoro
95 South Africa FW Kermit Erasmus


In the South African PSL, only five non-South African nationals can be registered. Foreign players who have acquired permanent residency can be registered as locals. Namibians born before 1990 do not count as foreigners.

On loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
South Africa MF William Twala (at Chippa United until 30 June 2015)
South Africa MF Manti Moholo (at Chippa United until 30 June 2015)
No. Position Player

Retired numbers[edit]

Notable former players[edit]

see also Category:Orlando Pirates players

† = deceased

Notable former coaches[edit]

Sponsors & Suppliers[edit]

  • Principal Sponsor: Vodacom
  • Official Technical Supplier: Adidas
  • Transport Supplier: Greyhound
  • Official IT Partner: Acer
  • Internet Supplier: SuperSport New Media
  • Carling Black Label


  1. ^ a b c "History – Chapter 1: A)Orlando Pirates are famously known for being the only South African team to win the African Champions League in 1995. BUILDING THE HOUSE OF PIRATES (1937–59)". OrlandoPiratesFC.com. Orlando Pirates FC. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Kuper, Simon (October 2009). "Action Replay: Soweto". FourFourTwo (HayMarket). p. 104. 
  3. ^ "Orlando Pirates clinch treble". News24. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Orlando Pirates: The Pirates who ruled Africa". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Orlando Pirates Football Club". Superbrands.com/za. Superbrands. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ellis Park Stadium". OrlandoPiratesFC.com. Orlando Pirates FC. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 

External links[edit]