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The Pirates Penalty-matum

30 November 2011 Nyiko Nxumalo

Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi are all leading strikers in some of the best leagues in the world. “Why is a die-hard Buccaneer like me writing about them?” you may ask. Well, after the unfortunate scenes I witnessed in our demolition of Golden Arrows on Saturday night in the Telkom Knockout semi-finals, I feel the need to remind our strikers, Benni McCarthy in particular, what it is that helps the 3 musketeers mentioned above remain the top scorers in their leagues, season after season.

Benni has played at the highest level, scored goals against the best defenders in the world and yet stood back when a scoring opportunity in the form of a penalty presented itself in the Arrows game. We have over the years seen the likes of Lucas Thwala, Rooi Mahamutsa and Lucky Lekgwathi assume the responsibility of taking spot kicks when this should be falling to our under-achieving strikers.

Benni went into the Arrows game as the TKO leading goal scorer, while also boasting the honour of having scored in every round leading up to that game. It was therefore puzzling to see him shy away from adding to his goal tally, instead leaving the penalty kick to Oupa Manyisa. It is no small wonder Pirates have not had a striker dominate the PSL scoring charts since the late Lesley Manyathela – our strikers simply do not want to assume the responsibility of scoring goals.

Back to Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo… Have a look back at their scoring records over the past few seasons and you will find that at least 7 of their 40 or so goals have been from the penalty spot. This helps to boost their confidence and stats.

To you Benni, Drogba, Rantie, Bester and company, you are paid to score goals. And yes, goals scored from the penalty spot do count as goals. Use the advantage that you have been given.