Hotto: Sundowns Or Pirates?

The left-footer is one of the players expected to leave for either Bucs or the Brazilians next term but which team would benefit from a move? Bidvest Wits attacking midfielder Deon Hotto has attracted interest from both Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns as confirmed by his agent Machini Motloung. 

While reports suggest that Hotto is on his way to the Buccaneers, Motloung revealed his client is yet to make a decision on which team he prefers ahead of next season. As things stand, it’s clear that both Pirates and Sundowns are strong favourites to land Hotto, with Kaizer Chiefs, despite previously being linked with the left-footer, certainly not in the race. But who needs Hotto the most between Pirates and Sundowns? 

At 29, Hotto is fast approaching the twilight of his career and while his ability as a player was first appreciated at Bloemfontein Celtic, it is at Wits where the utility player really took his football to another level. It is clear Hotto enjoys working with Gavin Hunt who has helped many players achieve greater things in their footballing career, but age is no longer on his side and the best thing he can try and do is to move to a bigger club with bigger ambitions.

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila has already confirmed several high-profile players in the current Wits squad will be allowed to leave following Masala Mulaudzi’s acquisition of the club on Saturday night.  Everyone knows how both Pirates and Sundowns are passionate about conquering Africa – and it’s almost every player’s dream to one day win either the Caf Champions League or Caf Confederation Cup. 

Sundowns have already made it their mission to win their second Caf Champions League trophy – and for Hotto, that alone should be enticing enough to sign on the dotted line. However, he has to look beyond that – because, at his age, he should be playing regularly for the next four to five years and that’s something he can only achieve at a club that needs him the most, and that is the Sea Robbers and not Sundowns. 

Sundowns have too many players in Hotto’s position, including Lyle Lakay, Aubrey Ngoma, Themba Zwane, Promise Mkhuma and Lebohang Maboe. Furthermore, some of those players are not even regulars at the club, meaning Hotto may have to work twice as hard to really be in Pitso Mosimane’s starting line-up week in and week out. 

Take nothing away from Hotto’s ability as a player and talent but Mosimane already has a structure in his team – and the kind of players that fits his philosophy. Also, Mosimane relies more on left wing-backs than natural left-wingers – it is for that reason Tebogo Langerman has owned that position for the past few years. 

When Lakay joined the Brazilians from Cape Town City, he was converted into a left wing-back and so was Thapelo Morena who now plays as a right wing-back despite being a natural winger and an attacker. Is this what Hotto needs at this stage of his career? The answer to that question is no.  

Pirates are in a rebuilding phase after securing the services of Josef Zinnbauer in December 2019 following the departure of Milutin Sredojevic in August last year.  In addition, they have a relatively inexperienced squad and their left-wing position is really short of quality and depth. They currently have Paseka Mako, Kabelo Dlamini, Austin Muwowo and Luvuyo Memela as their left-wingers – this doesn’t include Vincent Pule who’s often deployed as a right-winger despite being left-footed. 

Hotto would offer more to Pirates going forward – linking up with his former teammates Gabadinho Mhango and Xola Mlambo could be what would make him shine more than if he moves to a more settled side like Sundowns.  Bucs have proved reliant on one man – Mhango – for goals this season and they will need to find another reliable goalscorer and assist king ahead of next season, and Hotto fits the profile.  

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