Orlando Pirates

For the Namibian football club with the same name, see Orlando Pirates Windhoek.
Orlando Pirates FC
Full name Orlando Pirates Football Club
Nickname(s) Buccaneers, Bucs, Ezikamagebhula, Sea Robbers, the Ghost, Happy People, Amabhakabhaka,
Ezimnyama Ngenkani (The black ones)
Founded 1937, as Orlando Boys Club
Ground Orlando Stadium
Ground Capacity 40,000
Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza
Coach Augusto Palacios
League ABSA Premiership
2015–16 ABSA Premiership, 7th
alternate logo

Orlando Pirates Football Club are a professional soccer (football) club in South Africa, based in the Parktown 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.[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 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.[3] They are the first 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 and recently runners-up of 2015 CAF Confederation Cup.[4] Orlando Pirates remains the only team since the inception of the PSL in 1996 to have been always in the top eight bracket.


Orlando Pirates is one of South Africa's oldest football clubs having been established in 1937 in Orlando East, Soweto.[1][5] 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

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.[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

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 "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. 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.

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.[6]

The Soweto derby

Main article: Soweto derby

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.


2000–01, 2002–03, 2010–11, 2011–12
1971, 1973, 1975, 1976
1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2011, 2014
1972, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2010, 2011
  • Castle Challenge: 1
  • Sales House Cup: 4
1972, 1975, 1977, 1983
Runners-up: 2015

Reserve and Friendly

1999, 2005
2011, 2012, 2014, 2015

Club records

Orlando Pirates youth team players.

Premier Soccer League record

Club officials/Technical team

Orlando Pirates starting line-up in 2009.

First team squad

As of 6 September 2016

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 Brighton Mhlongo
2 South Africa DF Ayanda Gcaba
4 South Africa DF Happy Jele
5 South Africa MF Mpho Makola
6 South Africa MF Gladwin Shitolo
7 Zimbabwe FW Tendai Ndoro
8 South Africa DF Thabo Matlaba
11 South Africa MF Luvuyo Memela
12 Ghana MF Bernard Morrison
15 South Africa MF Thabo Qalinge
16 South Africa GK Jackson Mabokgwane
17 South Africa FW Ayanda Nkosi
18 Senegal MF Issa Sarr
19 South Africa DF Justice Chabalala
20 South Africa MF Oupa Manyisa (Captain)
21 South Africa DF Patrick Phungwayo
23 South Africa MF Mahlatsi Makudubela
24 South Africa MF Thabiso Kutumela
25 South Africa MF Thabo Rakhale
26 South Africa MF Riyaad Norodien
30 South Africa DF Mpho Mvelase
No. Position Player
31 South Africa FW Thamsanqa Gabuza
33 Ghana MF Edwin Gyimah
34 South Africa DF Ntsikelelo Nyauza
38 South Africa MF Gift Motupa
40 South Africa GK Siyabonga Mpontshane
42 Equatorial Guinea GK Felipe Ovono
45 South Africa DF Abbubaker Mobara
99 South Africa DF Tercious Malepe
South Africa DF Mthokozisi Dube
South Africa DF Khanya Gwala
South Africa DF Sandile Mthethwa
South Africa DF Nkosinathi Mthiyane
South Africa DF Mashale Rantabane
South Africa DF Itumeleng Tlali
South Africa MF Brian Hlongwa
South Africa MF Sello Japhta
South Africa MF Kamohelo Mabuya
South Africa MF Donald Mokondelela
South Africa FW Raymond Maluleke
South Africa FW Zukile Mkhize


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.

permanent residency-

On loan

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 Jacky Motshegwa (at Baroka Until 30 June 2017)
Zimbabwe MF Marshall Munetsi (at Baroka Until 30 June 2017)
No. Position Player
South Africa FW Siyanda Ngubo (at Baroka Until 30 June 2017)
South Africa FW Siphamandla Sangweni (at Baroka Until 30 June 2017)

Retired numbers

Notable former coaches

Sponsors & Suppliers


  1. 1 2 3 "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.
  2. Kuper, Simon (October 2009). "Action Replay: Soweto". FourFourTwo. HayMarket. p. 104.
  3. "Orlando Pirates clinch treble". News24. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  4. http://www.flashscore.com/soccer/africa/caf-confederations-cup/
  5. "Orlando Pirates: The Pirates who ruled Africa". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  6. "Ellis Park Stadium". OrlandoPiratesFC.com. Orlando Pirates FC. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  7. "Orlando Pirates Football Club" (PDF). Superbrands.com/za. Superbrands. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
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