Mkhalele: Orlando Pirates midfielder Motupa better suited in midfield than upfront

Former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates talisman Helman Mkhalele believes that teen sensation Gift Motupa is better off across the middle of the park than upfront.

Some believe that the 21-year-old, who joined the Buccaneers at the start of the season from NFD side Baroka FC is better off upfront than in the middle, the position he occupied in the Caf Confederations Cup final second-leg against Etoile du Sahel.

“I wouldn’t say because his natural position is the midfield. So I think it’s good that he represents modern football in terms of being able to play different positions because gone are the days where you have a player only specialising in one position or so of which I feel is good for him,” Mkhalele told Goal.

Occupying the centre-half role for the national under-23 side in the recent Caf under-23 Championships, that have since seen the team qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics, Mkhalele believes that a partnership between him and Gabuza for the Sea Robbers will not quite work to the same effect as the former and Kermit Erasmus does currently.

“Also, in terms of being partnered with Gabuza, for me I would say it would depend on how the opponents will be looking like and how the team Orlando Pirates will be strategizing on that particular day in order to win that game.

“So, I wouldn’t say that he would be a good partner of Gabuza because that is not his natural position. Yes, players do excel in positions they are not familiar with that could be something that helps him because we have seen once or twice players playing in an unfamiliar position excelling, but it also depends on the quality of the opponents so I wouldn’t say that he will be a perfect match to play with Gabuza, but what I would encourage is that for him to be able to play in different positions is a plus for him and something that needs to be encouraged,” Mkhalele said.

The Buccaneers return to domestic action this week when they visit Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership next Sunday.