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SA SOCCER NEWS
Malinga Ready To Fill OJ's Boots 14/10/03
Young Orlando Pirates defender Edward Malinga is ready to fill Mbulelo Mabizelas enormous boots in the heart of the Buccaneers defence.

Speaking to Soccer Laduma, the former Maritzburg City player says he is desperate to make his mark at the club, but does not want to be compared to OJ because it will put him under unnecessary pressure.

I want to do well for the team and achieve success. I would love to see people looking at me as a player who is here to help Pirates, instead of being judged on the basis of what Mbulelo has done for the team.

Malinga also warned the teams PSL rivals that the defending champions are slowly getting back to their best form and that once they hit their stride no one in the league will be able to live with them.

This after a stuttering start to the season by the Buccaneers that sees them trail league leaders Wits University by six points and the clubs fanatical supporters calling for the head of coach Roy Barreto.

The 21-year-old says the signing of a number of new players in the off-season made it inevitable that it would take a bit of time for the team to gel.

The team has signed a number of players, which means they also need to know each others strengths and weaknesses, says Malinga.

We are under pressure to deliver but I have hope that as time goes on we will put all the pieces together.

We are slowly getting there and, as you have witnessed in the last couple of games weve done pretty well.

The Welkom-born player, who holds the distinction of being the first South African to be plucked from the obscurity of the first division and awarded a Bafana Bafana cap, also dismisses reports of a crisis at the Soweto giants and warns of things to come.

We were down there at the bottom of the table, but look at where we are at the moment.

Its just a matter of time before you see us riding high as true defending champions.

Players who have joined Pirates this season include the Congolese trio of Kabanga Tshamala, Makweni Mayala and Felix Musasa, Lucas Tlhomelang, Patrick Twala, Sailor Tshabalala and James Mothibi.

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