Cape Town - Former Orlando Pirates defender Tonic Chabalala believes the team still needs a leader in their backline.
After two consecutive draws against Baroka FC and Highlands Park, the Buccaneers suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Maritzburg United in the Premiership on Tuesday night at Harry Gwala Stadium.
"Pirates' defence is currently not stable, and something must be done soon to fix it," Chabalala told Vodacom Soccer.
"My concern is that the five league goals conceded by Pirates have all been conceded in the second halves, which tells you more about the lack of concentration and communication from the defenders.
"Honestly speaking, the current Pirates team still needs a leader in defence, the defender of Lucky Lekgwathi or Siyabonga Sangweni's calibre. Since the retirement of Lekgwathi, Pirates have still not yet found a true leader in defence.
"Sangweni was gradually taking over from Lekgwathi, but unfortunately injuries forced him to quit the game prematurely when the team still needed him most. And the absence of their experience and leadership is still being felt, no doubt about that," continued 37-year-old, who captained Bucs in the semi-finals of the 2006 CAF Champions League.
Long-serving centre-back Lucky Lekgwathi announced his retirement after the 3-1 win over Golden Arrows on the opening day of the season, while Siyabonga Sangweni retired prematurely due to niggling knee injury in April.
Pirates recruited promising centre-back Justice Chabalala during the off-season, and he currently partners either Edwin Gyimah or Happy Jele - neither of which are natural central defenders.
"There is no doubt about Chabalala's talent and ability in central defensive position. He has adjusted well in the team's central defence and has impressed so far this season, but the truth is that he needs a seasoned centre-back to partner with," his name-sake added.
"So, Pirates need to sign another centre-back, someone who will be able to play a leading-role at the team's defence as Lekgwathi and Sangweni did."