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Okonkwo settled at Orlando Pirates

Michael Sherman

Having settled into the Orlando Pirates setup, Nigerian midfielder Onyekachi Okonkwo says he is ready to cement his place in the Buccanneers side.

Onyekachi Okonkwo (left) during a 1997 match for Orlando Pirates. (Gallo)

In his second stint with the Soweto outfit, after leaving in 2007, Okonkwo said on Wednesday his fitness had improved – after what the player termed a "long holiday" – and he was ready to become a permanent fixture in Roger de Sa's side.

"I'm settling now 100%. It's coming gradually, but the fitness is coming," Okonkwo insisted.

Pirates are well-placed in the league standings, in second position, four points adrift of early pace-setters and traditional foes Kaizer Chiefs, and the 30-year-old midfielder has lofty ambitions with Bucs, treble champions for the last two seasons.

"Things are so far so good. I feel good," Okonkwo said.

"Football is a language [spoken] all over the world, so I'm impressed with them [Pirates] ... Things are going well. I have a mission here to win for the team and win some of the cups, so that's why I'm here."

'Long holiday'
Okonkwo, who had been guilty of ill-discipline and unsporting behaviour in his previous spell with the club from 2004 to 2007, was taking a methodical approach to regain his form.

"I had a long holiday and I've had to train a little bit for the changing weather," he said.

"I was supposed to play when I arrived here but I have to take it easy for a bit and get my fitness back."

Okonkwo said Bucs were confident as they prepared to square up against Black Leopards in the first round of the Telkom Knockout in Polokwane on Saturday.

"The spirit is high and the confidence is there and the players are ready ... We are not under pressure. We have good players and everybody is ready. We just like to play our game." – Sapa

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