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Concerns for Orlando Pirates after Ofori challenged Ghana in absent form during the defeat of Bafana Bafana

South Africa placed top of Group G on Monday night after Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s 83rd minute goal secured the hosts’ victory over the West African giants

Richard Ofori looks doubtful for Orlando Pirates’ game against Swallows FC on Saturday after being forced into injury on Monday during Ghana’s 1-0 defeat to Bafana Bafana in a Group G World Cup qualifier at FNB Stadium.

Hlongwane’s goal was scored against reserve goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi and not his former Maritzburg club mate Ofori, whose night ended on the hour after he was injured with a groin problem.

Groin injuries do not heal quickly. Judging by the amount of discomfort Ofori looks like and the fact that he was carried away on a stretcher, the chances are high that he will not play in the Buccaneers League game against Swallows at Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Injury is not the only problem of Ofori

Apart from the injury, Ofori had several other problematic moments against Bafana Bafana, and at times seemed shaky and confident.

There was a free kick from Teboho Mokoena in the first half that dropped Ofori at the feet of Mothobi Mvala and was lucky not to be penalized.

And to say he was lucky not to be penalized when he dropped a cross from Mokoena in the second half would be an understatement – after allowing an ordinary catch to go right through him, look Ofori with relief and probably disbelief after somehow the Bafana striker, Evidence Makgopa, threw the ball on the wrong side of the post from virtually inside-into an open net.

It is not just on the international stage that Ofori has made mistakes lately; he has already made some erroneous mistakes with Bucs this season and has not been able to regain the form of his new club that he showed during his time at Maritzburg United.

A long-standing problem at the back

Since the tragic deaths of former Sea Robbers and Bafana Bafana number one Senzo Meyiwa, the Bucs have struggled to find a regular and reliable container.

Like Jackson Mabokgwane, Joris Delle, Brighton Mhlongo and Felipe Ovono, the past five years have come and gone, while Wayne Sandilands and Siyabonga Mpontshane, the current two Bucs reserves, probably have their best years behind them.

Struggling for strength beforehand, it looks like Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids have another problem: the goalkeeper’s goal.

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