Orlando Pirates F.C.

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Orlando Pirates
Orlando Pirates FC logo.svg
Full nameOrlando Pirates Football Club
Nickname(s)Buccaneers, Bucs, Ezikamagebhula, Sea Robbers, the Ghost, Happy People, Amabhakabhaka,
Ezimnyama Ngenkani (The black ones)
Founded1937; 82 years ago (1937), as Orlando Boys Club
GroundOrlando Stadium
ChairmanDr Irvin Khoza
ManagerMilutin Sredojevic
LeagueABSA Premiership
Current season

Orlando Pirates Football Club is a professional football club in South Africa, based in the Houghton suburb of the city of Johannesburg and plays in the top tier system of South African football known as Premier Soccer League.

The club was founded in 1937 and was originally based in Orlando, Soweto.[2] They are named 'Pirates' after the 1940 film The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn.[3] 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 ABSA Premiership, the FA Cup Nedbank Cup and the Top 8 Cup MTN 8 during the ABSA Premiership 2010–11 season and domestic league ABSA Premiership, the League Cup Telkom Knockout and the Top 8 Cup MTN 8 during the ABSA Premiership 2011–12 season.[4] They are one of only two South African teams with Mamelodi Sundowns to win the CAF Champions League, which they won in 1995. They are the runners-up of 2015 CAF Confederation Cup.[5]

Orlando Pirates drew an average home attendance of 14,533 in the 2016-17 domestic league season. It became the second highest in the league.

One of their biggest rivalries, besides the one with Kaizer Chiefs, is the rivalry with Moroka Swallows.


Orlando Pirates is one of South Africa's oldest football clubs having been established in 1937 in Orlando East, Soweto.[2][6] The club's performances over the years have served as an inspiration for young footballers 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 football. 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.[2] 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 2010–11 domestic league campaign generated much excitement among the club's vast fan-base.

In 2011, Orlando Pirates enjoyed tremendous success by winning the 2010–11 Premier Soccer League, The Nedbank Cup, The MTN 8 Cup and The Telkom Knockout. This year was dubbed as "The Happy Year."

Many other cup triumphs in domestic football 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 football 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. Along with Mamelodi Sundowns, the Orlando Pirates 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.

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 Ghost" – 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.[7]

The Soweto derby[edit]

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


Domestic competitions[edit]

International competitions[edit]

Reserve and Friendly[edit]

Notable former coaches[edit]

Club records[edit]

Orlando Pirates youth team players.
  • Most appearances: William Okpara 375[8]
  • Most goals: Benedict Vilakazi 52
  • Most capped Player: Teko Modise 58 (South Africa)
  • Most Appearances: William Okpara 375 (Nigeria)
  • Most appearances in a season: Oupa Manyisa 51 (2013–14), Senzo Meyiwa 51 (2013-2014) and William Okpara 51 (1994-1995)
  • Most goals in a season: Dennis Lota 23 (1999–00)
  • Record win: 9–1 v Olympics (Bob Save Super Bowl 07/03/1999)
  • Record loss: 0-6 vs Mamelodi Sundowns (League 11/02/2017) Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • Most Games Unbeaten: 17 (1975, 2005)
  • Most Goals Scored in a Season: 61 (1989)
  • Most Goals Conceded in a Season: 60 (1986)
  • Most Victories in a Season: 19 (1990)
  • Fewest Victories in a Season: 5 (1985)
  • Most Defeats in a Season: 15 (1985)
  • Fewest Defeats in a Season: 3 (1994)

Premier Soccer League record[edit]

Club officials/Technical team[edit]

  • Chairman and MD: South Africa Irvin Khoza
  • Coach: Serbia Milutin Sredojevic
  • Assistant coach: South Africa Rhulani Mokwena
  • GoalKeeper Coach: Wales Andrew Sparks
  • Finishing Coach: France Stéphane Lucien Adam
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach: France Franck Plaine
  • Conditioning Coach: South Africa Stephen Plummer
  • Sport Scientist: South Africa Warren Engelbrecht
  • Performance Analyst: South Africa Michael Loftman
  • Performance Analyst: South Africa Kyle Solomon
  • Performance Analyst: South Africa Darian Wilken
  • Physiotherapist: South Africa Kutlwano Molefe
  • Physiotherapist: South Africa John Williams
  • Kit Manager: South Africa Donovan Lekgothoane
  • Kit Manager: South Africa Funky Mokoalase
  • Kit Manager: South Africa Itumeleng Khoza
  • Kit Manager: South Africa Pule Sithebe
Orlando Pirates starting line-up in 2009.

First team squad[edit]

As of 27 September 2018

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

No. Position Player
1 South Africa GK Brilliant Khuzwayo
2 South Africa DF Ntsikelelo Nyauza
3 South Africa MF Thembinkosi Lorch
4 South Africa DF Happy Jele (Captain)
5 South Africa MF Mpho Makola
6 South Africa MF Gladwin Shitolo
7 Zimbabwe FW Kudakwashe Mahachi
8 South Africa DF Thabo Matlaba
11 South Africa MF Luvuyo Memela
12 Zambia FW Justin Shonga
14 South Africa MF Musa Nyatama
15 South Africa MF Thabo Qalinge
16 South Africa GK Jackson Mabokgwane
17 Zambia FW Augustine Mulenga
18 South Africa DF Abbubaker Mobara
20 South Africa MF Xolani Mlambo
23 South Africa DF Innocent Maela
No. Position Player
24 South Africa FW Thabiso Kutumela
27 South Africa MF Ben Motshwari
28 South Africa DF Mthokozisi Dube
29 South Africa FW Paseka Mako
30 South Africa GK Wayne Sandilands
31 South Africa FW Thamsanqa Gabuza
32 South Africa MF Linda Mnatambo
33 Zimbabwe MF Marshall Munetsi
35 South Africa DF Diamond Thopola
36 Brazil DF Caio Marcelo
37 South Africa MF Asavela Mbekile
38 South Africa MF Augustine Mahlonoko
39 South Africa DF Phetso Maphanga
40 South Africa GK Siyabonga Mpontshane
42 South Africa FW Meshack Maphangule
44 South Africa MF Abel Mabaso
45 South Africa FW Vincent Pule

Out 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 DF Tercious Malepe (at Chippa United until 30 June 2019)
- South Africa DF Sandile Mthethwa (at Thanda Royal Zulu)
- South Africa DF Thembela Sikhakhane (at AmaZulu)
- South Africa MF Siphumelele Mbulu (at Witbank Spurs)
- South Africa MF Brian Hlongwa (at Royal Eagles)
- South Africa MF Yusuf Maart (at Cape Umoya United)
- South Africa FW Ayanda Nkosi (at Jomo Cosmos)
- South Africa FW Zakhele Lepasa (at Stellenbosch)


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.

Retired numbers[edit]



  1. ^ "Orlando Stadium sponsored by Lafarge - Stadium Management SA". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "History – Chapter 1: A)Orlando Pirates are famously known for being the first 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.
  3. ^ Kuper, Simon (October 2009). "Action Replay: Soweto". FourFourTwo. HayMarket. p. 104.
  4. ^ "Orlando Pirates clinch treble". News24. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  5. ^ "CAF Confederations Cup 2018 live scores, results, Football Africa - FlashScore". www.flashscore.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Orlando Pirates: The Pirates who ruled Africa". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Ellis Park Stadium". OrlandoPiratesFC.com. Orlando Pirates FC. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Orlando Pirates Football Club" (PDF). Superbrands.com/za. Superbrands. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Orlando Pirates retire fourth club jersey". www.kickoff.com. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2017.

External links[edit]