Orlando Pirates’ greatest players – the top 5

Orlando Pirates’ greatest players – the top 5
Credit: Icon Sport

Orlando Pirates is one of the greatest clubs in South Africa's top football division, the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Otherwise known as the Buccaneers, the Soweto giants have a rich history in South African football, of which over the years has seen top players go through their ranks, players who have etched their names in the club's glamorous history.

It is worth knowing that Orlando Pirates are the first club since the start of the Premier Soccer League in 1996 to have won three major trophies in a single season back to back.

Bucs won the domestic league (ABSA Premiership), the FA Cup (Nedbank Cup) and the Top 8 Cup (MTN 8) during the 2010/11 season and repeated the feat the following season.

Orlando Pirates is one of two only South African clubs to have won the CAF Champions League; they're also winners of over 35 trophies in general.

The club achieved all these from dedicated players who at their time with the team
gave their all to become cult heroes, legends, and players often talked about with lasting memories.

Orlando Pirates' five greatest players

Steve Lekoela (1995-2005)

Lekoela was a midfield maestro who played for Orlando Pirates between 1995 to 2005, a decade of football with the Soweto side.

Lekoela's dribbling prowess left other players feeling less of themselves on the pitch. Like Lionel Messi, he effortlessly went past defenders in his days with the former CAF Champions League winners. He was athletic and with flair to match his skills on the pitch.

He became a cult hero due to his many years at the club where he played in 184 games and scored 36 goals for Orlando Pirates.

Helman Mkhalele (1993-1997)

Orlando Pirates legend, Helman Mkhalele
Credit: Icon Sport

Helman Mkhalele played as a midfielder in his days at Orlando Pirates. He was an integral part of the Bucs' squad that won the 1994 National Soccer League and the 1995 African Cup of Champions Clubs (CAF Champions League).

He was a joy to watch in the middle of the park with his dazzling displays and ability to pick out his teammates in the opponent's box.

Mkhalele made 138 appearances for Bucs, and netted 23 times before he made a trip to Europe to continue his football career.

Mark Fish (1993-1996)

Orlando Pirates legend, Mark Fish
Credit: Icon Sport

Dubbed as one of the finest centre-backs in Bucs history, Mark Fish featured for three years at the club. He was a key member of the Orlando Pirates' team that conquered Africa in the 1995 CAF Champions League.

Fish later travelled to Europe to further his career, where he played for teams like Lazio, Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic.

Jerry Sikhosana (1993-1998) and (2000-2001)

Jerry Sikhosana is one of Orlando Pirates' all-time greatest players. He scored very crucial goals while at the club. Nicknamed “Legs of Thunder”, Sikhosana etched his name in the sands of time for Bucs as the only player who scored a hat trick in the Soweto derby.

He is also remembered as the player who scored the decisive goals in Orlando Pirates' 1995 CAF Champions League final victory over ASEC Mimosas.

His scoring prowess earned him legendary status at Orlando Pirates as a formidable goal poacher in the 1990s.

He left the club in 1998 to play for two other teams before making a comeback in 2000. He featured for the Pirates in 125 games and scored 44 goals.

Jomo Sono

Jomo Sono goes down in history as one of the greatest players to wear the Buccaneers' shirt. He is infamously remembered for abandoning his own wedding to go save his team. He was a player who truly embodied the spirit of the club, as his dedication was second to none other.

He went on to play in the United States having created memories and lasting impressions in his days at Orlando Pirates

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.