Pirates confirm Sangweni return to Chippa United, who claim Matlaba and Morrison too

Bernard Morrison of Orlando Pirates Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates have seemingly agreed the transfer of three players to Premier Soccer League rivals Chippa United, including last season's captain Thabo Matlaba and Ghanaian attacker Bernard Morrison.

Midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni is the third player headed for Port Elizabeth after spending just a season with Pirates having been sold by Chippa ahead of the last campaign.

"All three players are highly talented and will add value to this young side," Chippa owner Siviwe Mpengesi said in a statement on Friday.

Intriguingly, Pirates only confirmed the release of Sangweni back to the Chilli Boys with the short website story making no mention of Matlaba or Morrison departing.

As it happened, Chippa also confirmed that defender Ayabulela Konqobe, midfielder Sizwe Mdlinzo and striker Lucky Setelele had left the club.

The latter was announced as a new signing earlier this month from Cape Town All Stars, but is not in the plans of coach Dan Malesela (ironically a former All Stars coach, who had brought Mdlinzo to the Chilli Boys). 

The uncertainty of the transfers notwithstanding, Matlaba captained Pirates last season and has been a regular in the fullback positions since his arrival from Free State Stars in January 2012, though he was moved to a more advanced role in midfield role last season.

The 30-year-old has made more than 200 appearances for the club and played a role in their reaching the 2013 CAF Champions League and 2015 Confederation Cup finals. 

Morrison (25) has never quite managed to nail down a first team place at Pirates since his arrival from AS Vita Club in 2016, though he has not been helped by persistent injuries -- as such, his departure has been long mooted.

Despite nominally being a winger, he has battled with the pace of the game in South Africa and managed four goals in 23 appearances over two seasons with the club. He was also taking up one of their five allocated foreigner positions.

Sangweni was signed from Chippa at the start of last season, and took over the number 21 jersey his elder brother Siyabonga had worn with aplomb, but made only three appearances and none in the second half of the season.

Chippa had also signed striker Gift Motupa from Pirates (following his loan stint with Baroka last season) earlier in the transfer window, but later sold him to Bidvest Wits before he had kicked a ball for the club.

Abel Mabaso, Paseka Mako and Linda Mntambo have moved in the opposite direction, leaving Chippa for Pirates following what has become a well-trodden path by players between the two clubs in recent years.