Orlando Pirates is one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in South Africa. The team was founded in 1973, and it has since then won many national and international competitions. While in recent time it has found itself struggling with other clubs, including Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs F.C., Pirates has set many records and legacies. They have won more than 40 trophies, including Cup competitions considered unofficial and friendlies that came with trophies. The most important trophy in the club’s history came in 2005 when it clinched the CAF Champions League. In general, their first trophy was the National Premier Soccer League in 1971.
Profile of Orlando Pirates
- Full Name: Orlando Pirates Football Club
- Nicknames: Amabhakabhaka, The Sea Robbers, Buccaneers, Ezimnyama Ngenkani
- Year Founded: 1937
- Current Manager: Josef Zinnbauer
- League: PSL
- Home Ground: Orlando Stadium
Orlando Pirates Have More Than 40 Trophies in Its Show Room
Since its inception, Orlando Piratas has more than 40 trophies. While some of the trophies were won on the domestic level in South Africa (league and cup competitions), others were won on the continental level. A few others have, however, come from pre-season friendly competitions.
The Buccaneers in Domestic League Competitions
1. Premier Soccer League (PSL) – 4 Trophies
In the South African Premier Division, otherwise known as the Premier Soccer League (PSL), which is the major league in South Africa, the Bucs have won 4 trophies thus far. The league first started in 1996 and currently featured 18 teams.
Orlando Pirates won the trophy in the 2003/04, 2004/05, 2012/13, and 2014/15 seasons. The team has finished as runner-ups on six different occasions. The most successful club in the PSL is Mamelodi Sundowns which has won the trophy 10 times. Joining Kaizer Chiefs which also has 4 trophies, Orlando Pirates is the second most successful club in the PSL.
2. National Professional Soccer League – 4 Trophies
Before the PSL as it is known today, there was the National Professional Soccer League which started in 1971 and lasted until 1995. Under this league, Ezimnyama Ngenkani won 4 trophies in 1971, 1973, 1975, and 1976.
With that said, the club is the second most successful team in the defunct league, after Kaizer Chiefs who has 5 trophies in its cabinet.
3. National Soccer League – 1 Trophy
Orlando Pirates took part in the now-defunct National Soccer League which lasted from 1985 to 1995. In those years, the club only managed to clinch the title once and that was in 1994.
The club’s long-time nemesis, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, are the top teams in the league with 3 trophies to their names.
The Club Has Won 19 Cup Competitions
The greater successes of Orlando Pirates have been registered in Cup Competitions thus far, having clinched close to 20 titles in such competitions that include Nedbank Cup, Telkom Knockout, and MTN 8.
1. Nedbank Cup – 8 Trophies
The club has won 8 trophies in South Africa’s premier club football knockout tournament which first began in 1971. Even though it became the first and only club that would win the trophy three times in a row from 1973 to 1975, it is Kaizer Chiefs that is the most successful club in the tournament with a whopping 13 titles.
The Sea Robbers rank as the second most successful club in the tournament having first won the trophy in 1973. Their most recent success was recorded in 2014. Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns are the third most successful clubs with 5 trophies each.
2. MTN 8 – 10 Trophies
Orlando Pirates took home R8,000,000 in 2020 after it won the MTN 8 title. That was the 10th time the club would have the title. The first time the club won the competition was in 1972. They further won it in 1973, 1978, 1983, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2010, 2011, and 2020. But even with its 10 titles, Pirates are behind Kaizer Chiefs which have won 15 titles.
3. Telkom Knockout – 1 Trophy
The club has won only 1 Telkom Knockout title in its history. The first and only Telkom Knockout trophy won by Orlando Pirates was in 2011. Kaizer Chiefs is the most successful team in the tournament with 13 trophies.
Orlando Pirates Have Won 2 Trophies in International Competitions
Orlando Pirates are arguably the best South African club on the international scene with two trophies to their name. The club won the CAF Champions League in 1995, making it the first time any South African club will lift the coveted trophy. The Bucs defeated Ivorian team ASEC Mimosas with a lone strike by Jerry Sikhosana to win the competition. The following year, the club became the only South African club to win the CAF Super Cup when it brought home the title.
The next time a South African side would win the CAF Champions League was in 1997 when Mamelodi Sundowns won the title. The Pirates came close to winning it for the second time in 2013 but were defeated in the finals by Al-Ahly (the most successful club in the competition with 9 titles). This is the last time any South African club would reach the finals of the CAF Champions League.
Pirates were close to winning a third continental trophy in 2015 (CAF Confederation Cup) but were defeated in the finals by Tunisia’s Étoile du Sahel.
Reserve and Friendly Titles
Even though these are not very popular as compared to other tournaments and competitions, Orlando Pirates has taken home a total of 8 trophies in this category.
1. Carling Black Label Cup – 5 Trophies
The club won 5 Carling Black Label Cups, making it the most successful club in the history of the competition which started in 2011. The club won the title in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2019.
2. Vodacom Challenge – 2 Trophies
The Vodacom Challenge competition is played by clubs sponsored by the telecommunications network. The Pirates have won the trophy twice, in 1999 and 2005. It is the second most successful club behind Kaizer Chiefs who have won the title five times.
3. PSL Reserve League – 1 Trophy
Orlando Pirates have won one trophy in the PSL Reserve League, a league for the reserve teams of the top PSL teams. The club clinched the trophy in 2007.
5 Other Cup Competitions
There are other competitions that are not considered official such as the Castle Challenge and Sales House Cup, even though they still attract some big clubs. In the two competitions, Orlando Pirates have clinched 5 trophies. The club took home its first and only Castle Challenge in 1992. In 1972, 1975, 1977, and 1983, it won 4 different Sales House Cup tournaments.
List of All The Trophies Won By Orlando Pirates
- CAF Champions Leaguen- 1 (1995)
- CAF Super Cup – 1 (1996)
- Premier Soccer League (PSL) – 4 Trophies (2001, 2003, 2011, and 2012)
- National Professional Soccer League – 4 Trophies (1971, 1973, 1975, and 1976)
- National Soccer League – 1 Trophy (1994)
- Nedbank Cup – 8 Trophies ( 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2011, and 2014)
- Telkom Knockout – 1 Trophy (2011)
- MTN 8 – 10 (1972, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2010, 2011, and 2020)
- Carling Black Label Cup – 5 Trophies (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2019)
- PSL Reserve League – 1 Trophy (2007)
- Vodacom Challenge – 2 Trophies (1999 and 2005)
- Castle Challenge – 1 Trophy (1992)
- Sales House Cup – 4 Trophies (1972, 1975, 1977, and 1983)