Maybe joining Orlando Pirates wasn't the best move for Qalinge - Clive Barker

Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker believes Thabo Qalinge took a step backwards in his career when he joined Orlando Pirates from Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2014. 

The speedy winger chose the Buccaneers ahead of Kaizer Chiefs in what was a much-talked-about deal at the time. 

He took the PSL by storm while playing for the now-defunct Black Aces and he was in top form during his first few months with the Buccaneers. 

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"I just think he got it all wrong - maybe going to a big club like Orlando Pirates wasn't the best move," Barker told Sowetan.

Barker recalled how good Qalinge was under his watch, especially in one-on-one situations alongside Themba Zwane, who is now one of the best in the PSL.  

"When I had him he was very talented. He was very good in one-on-one situations. He could go past people," he continued.

"He was a top-class player together with Themba Zwane at that time. Zwane went forward and he went backwards."

Despite being 28, Barker strongly feels that Qalinge is still young and good enough to return to the top.  

"He is very young enough to turn it around. He is good enough to do so," continued the veteran mentor. 

"I think it is more of a mental problem that he is going through now but he's got the ability to come back. He is a young man.

"I would not worry too much about his form at the moment. I know he will get his game right."

Qalinge, currently on the books of SuperSport United, will be clubless at the end of the season.

This was recently confirmed by Matsatsantsa CEO Stanley Matthews, who said the club wasn't happy with the winger's contribution since joining them on a free transfer at the start of the campaign.  

Qalinge made just five appearances for the Tshwane giants before the suspension of the current campaign due to the coronavirus outbreak as he struggled to cement his place in Kaitano Tembo's team. 

At Pirates, the Soweto-born player featured in 79 matches across all competitions, scoring six goals and grabbing three assists. 

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