Jomo Sono Orlando Pirates coach

Jomo Sono backs his ex-goalie to succeed at Pirates 

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SA football icon Jomo Sono has backed his former goalkeeper at Jomo Sono to succeed at Orlando Pirates 

Sono, a Pirates legend, knows exactly what it takes to play for a team of Bucs’ stature. He is also known for unearthing gems in SA, with the latest being Melusi Buthelezi.

The Soweto giants announced the signing of Buthelezi from TS Galaxy last month. The 25-year-old goalie attracted the interest of Pirates following an impressive season at Galaxy.

In the past season, he kept 18 clean sheets in 34 goals in all competitions, an incredible feat for a goalkeeper at a club considered ‘small’. In addition, the shot-stopper earned a call-up to the Bafana Bafana set-up. 

Buthelezi cut his teeth at Jomo Cosmos in the second-tier league back in 2019 before penning a deal with Galaxy. 

Sono has explained why he strongly believes Buthelezi will succeed at Orlando Pirates despite facing stiff competition from Sipho Chaine, Richard Ofori and Siyabonga Mpontshane for the club’s number-one spot. 

Melusi Buthelezi Orlando Pirates goalkeeper


“Buthelezi will do well at Pirates because he comes from good hands at Cosmos, where he worked very well with Avril Phali [Cosmos goalkeeper coach],” said Sono, as quoted by Sowetan.

“In fact, Avril is the one who said we must sign him when he came to our training as an unknown young boy without any invite. 

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“What will also make him succeed at Pirates is that he’s coachable and has already gained enough experience at Galaxy and at Bafana Bafana [he’s received a few call-ups in recent months].”

Furthermore, Phali, who also played for Pirates before hanging up his boots, said he has no doubt Buthelezi will do well at Bucs. 

“Melusi is a talented boy, so he’ll definitely make it at Pirates. I pray that they give him that first game,” said Phali. 

“I have no doubt that he’ll grab the chance with both hands like Chaine did. Melusi is a good listener, and that sets him apart from other players.  Melusi never played for development at Cosmos; he went straight into the first team. 

“The first thing I told Bra J [Sono] was that the boy’s height was good enough to make a good keeper. We signed him on the spot after a few minutes of [him] training with us. We just polished him here and there, and he started playing in the NFD.”

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