Football is a very bankable sport all over the world. In Europe, top footballers like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo take home millions of euros every year. In Africa, players also make a ton of money even though the rate is not comparable to what is obtainable in Europe. In South Africa, for instance, the highest-paid footballer, Samir Nurkovic, takes home nearly 1 million rands every single month. Other players make close to that figure as well. This is not surprising because the South African Premier Soccer League is one of the most developed leagues on the African continent and has gained serious attention from the global community. The players are now well paid in order to keep them from fighting so much to join the European leagues.
With the point of focus here being the earnings of players at Orlando Pirates, details about these figures are among the most coveted information about the South African club. Fans of the football club have often asked questions about how much players take home every month and every year. This is mainly because of the massive growth of the club over the years. No Orlando Pirates player is listed as the top-earning footballer in South Africa, however, some of them are listed among the top 15 highest paid footballers in the country. This is not very surprising because Orlando Pirates is currently the second richest football club in South Africa, with an estimated net worth of about $14.7 million. The highest-paid Orlando Pirates players take home millions of rands every year and are also among the country’s highly talked about soccer stars.
Orlando Pirates Have Found Immense Success
The Orlando Pirates Football Club is based in the Houghton suburb of the city of Johannesburg and currently plays in the Premier Soccer League which is a top-tier system of football in South Africa. The club is actually one of South Africa’s oldest football clubs having been founded as far back as 1937. The club’s ‘Pirates’ name came after the 1940 film, The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn. Since its establishment, the club has steadily grown to become one of the most successful football clubs in South Africa.
As a matter of fact, the Orlando Pirates are the first club to have won three major trophies in a single season back to back since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996. They achieved this by winning the domestic ABSA Premiership league, the Nedbank Cup, and the MTN 8 during the 2010–11 season and then going on to also win the ABSA Premiership, the Telkom Knockout, and MTN 8 in the 2011–12 season. The feat made them a powerhouse in South African football.
In 1995, Orlando Pirates famously won the prestigious CAF Champions League title. This achievement made them one of the only two South African teams to ever win the CAF Champions League. They also finished as the runners-up of the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup. In total, they have won more than 30 trophies, a feat which places them right at the top among the clubs with the most trophies in the Premier Soccer League. Today, they have a massive following and have one of the biggest fan bases in the country. In fact, the club is said to draw an average home attendance of 14,533 in a season.
Orlando Pirates Players Who Make The Most Money
Orlando Pirates are one of the most popular clubs in South Africa and this is why a lot of attention has been drawn to how much their players are being paid every month and yearly. The players are well paid with many raking in a million rand every few months. Below are some of the highest-earning footballers in the popular South African club.
1. Deon Hotto Kavendji
- Salary: R500,000
- Net Worth: $500,000
- Position: Midfielder
- Joined The Club In: 2020
Deon Hotto Kavendji is currently the highest-paid Orlando Pirates player who earns a monthly salary of about R500,000. This figure translates to about R6 million every year. The talented superstar footballer who plays in the midfield position joined the club in 2020. He has won the admiration of many fans of the club and is one of their most popular stars. Before playing for the Orlando Pirates, he played for different other clubs.
Deon Hotto Kavendji is a Namibian footballer. He was born in Swakopmund, a coastal city in Namibia on the 29th of October 1990. This means he is now about 32 years old. He developed a passion for the game from very early and started playing football at the age of 7. Eventually, he started his football career by playing for Swakopmund FC, a football club based in Swakopmund.
Kavendji was with Swakopmund FC for an unspecified time before moving to the Blue Boys, a football club located in Swakopmund, Namibia in 2012. He played for the club for some months before leaving the same year. Kavendji left the Blue Boys in September 2012 with a lot of experience. After leaving the Blue Boys, he went on to sign with the African Stars, another Namibian club located in Windhoek on September 10, 2012. He played with the club for two years before leaving them in 2014.
After leaving the African Stars, Deon Hotto Kavendji went on to join Lamontville Golden Arrows F.C., a South African soccer club on January 6, 2014. The superstar footballer remained with the Gold Arrows for about two years, stunning fans with his sharp skills on the ball before he eventually left the club in 2016. After leaving the Golden Arrows, Kavendji went on to join Bloemfontein Celtic F.C., another South African professional football club on July 3, 2016. By this time, he had become one of the very popular football players in South Africa and had won many fans for himself.
In 2018, about two years after he joined Bloemfontein Celtic F.C., Kavendji left the club and joined Bidvest Wits F.C., another professional South African football club. He joined Bidvest on July 1, 2018, on a free transfer to the huge delight of fans. He soon began doing some exploits for the club, gaining serious attention from the other clubs in the South African Premier Soccer League. It was not long before other clubs began bidding to sign the player and the Orlando Pirates succeeded in pulling him from Bidvest in 2020.
Deon Hotto Kavendji signed with the Orlando Pirates on September 21, 2020, and has remained with the club since then. According to reports, when Kavendji first joined the Orland Pirates, he was initially paid R200,000 in his first season. However, the salary was pushed up to R500,000 in 2021. This is what he currently receives, making him the highest-paid Orlando Pirates star and one of the highest-paid players in the entire Premier Soccer League.
It is noteworthy that football is the main source of income for Deon Hotto Kavendji. However, he also makes money from other sources, including his endorsement deals. Some of the endorsement deals he has bagged include the ones with reputable brands such as Adidas South Africa and Standard Bank Namibia. At the moment, his net worth has been estimated to be about $500,000.
Deon Hotto Kavendji has since begun to do exploits for the Orlando Pirates. In July 2021, he emerged as the joint winner of the Pirates Player of the Season prize with teammate Vincent Pule. He was also the joint winner of the Fans’ Player of the Season along with Pule. His enormous skills have been hailed by fans and pundits. He is also very active for his country’s national football team, the Brave Warriors. In fact, in May 2015, Deon Hotto Kavendji scored two goals in the COSAFA Cup final to help Namibia win their first international trophy.
2. Thulani Hlatshwayo
- Salary: R300,000
- Net Worth: $2 million
- Position: Central Defender
- Joined The Club In: 2020
Thulani Hlatshwayo is the second-highest paid Orlando Pirates player at the moment with a monthly salary of about R300,000. This figure translates to about R3.6 million every year. Hlatshwayo is also very popular among football lovers in South Africa and he is often considered to be one of the strongest defenders in the entire Premier Soccer League. This is why it is not surprising that he is among the highest-paid players at his club. The footballer joined Orlando Pirates in September 2020.
Thulani Hlatshwayo is a South African footballer who was born in Soweto, a township in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Born on 18 December 1989, he is currently 33 years old. Hlatshwayo started dreaming of playing football since he was a child and eventually joined the youth academy of Ajax Cape Town, a South African professional football club based in the city of Cape Town. He was nurtured here before he was later able to join the senior Ajax team in 2009.
Hlatshwayo went on to impress fans with his defensive skills. He played in 96 matches for Ajax Cape Town across five years from 2009 to 2014. During this time, he scored two goals even though he was primarily a defender. He was so strong that he was nicknamed ‘Tyson’ by fans. He would eventually leave the team in 2014.
After leaving Ajax Cape Town, Thulani Hlatshwayo went on to join Bidvest Wits F.C., another South African club on July 1, 2014. While with Bidvest, Hlatshwayo made a name for himself with his no-nonsense defending. He was famed for being a ‘wall’ between opponents and his goal post. Hlatshwayo stayed with Bidvest Wits for about 6 years before leaving in 2020. During this time, he appeared in about 140 games and scored 18 goals, showing he was not just good at defending but also at scoring.
It was after leaving Bidvest Wits FC that Thulani Hlatshwayo joined the Orlando Pirates. He joined the Pirates on September 21, 2020, on the same day with Deon Hotto Kavendji. Hlatshwayo has since registered his presence at Orlando Pirates and is now one of the favorites of the club’s many fans. He has earned a strong reputation as a pragmatic defender who knows exactly how to take the ball off an opponent.
It is noteworthy that while he played for Bidvest Wits, Hlatshwayo earned about R150,000 every month. So, his R300,000 salary at Orlando Pirates is quite a significant jump for him. He also makes money from his numerous endorsement deals, including the ones he has with Adidas South Africa and Volkswagen.
Thulani Hlatshwayo is also active for his country’s national football team, the Bafana Bafana, where he also stars a defender. In October 2018, Hlatshwayo made his mark as one of South Africa’s goalscorers as the country landed its largest ever victory with a 6–0 win over Seychelles in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
3. Richard Ofori
- Salary: R300,000
- Net Worth: N/A
- Position: Goalkeeper
- Joined The Club In: 2020
Richard Ofori also earns a salary of R300,000 at Orlando Pirates alongside Thulani Hlatshwayo. The shot-stopper joined Pirates in 2020 and has quickly risen to become one of the most popular and highest-paid players in the club. Ofori is respected for his ability to stop strikers at the near-post and has won a number of ‘best goalkeeper’ awards during his career.
Born on 1 November 1993, Ofori is a Ghanaian footballer who is now 29 years old. Having developed a thirst for playing football from when he was really young, Ofori began building towards having a professional career from when he was a teenager. On January 1, 2012, he joined Legion Cities FC, a Ghanaian football club previously known as Wa All Stars FC. While he was with Legion Cities FC, he became very popular because of his exceptional goalkeeping qualities. In fact, in the 2015 season, he was voted the best goalkeeper in the league. The next season in 2016, Ofori’s club won their first-ever league title and the goalkeeper was very instrumental in helping them clinch it. For this reason, he was, once again, voted the best goalkeeper in the league.
Because of his exceptional performances in the Ghanaian Premier League, Ofori was variously linked with moves to South Africa or Europe. He would remain with Legion Cities FC for about 5 years before leaving them in 2017. After leaving Legion Cities FC, Richard Ofori moved to the South African league where he joined Maritzburg United F.C., a club based in the city of Pietermaritzburg. He signed a three-year contract on July 20, 2017, and began playing in 2018. Ofori soon registered his presence in the team with a number of very impressive saves that he made. He became one of the very well-known goalkeepers in the Premier Soccer League. Ofori remained with Maritzburg for about two years, appearing in about 85 matches before leaving in 2020.
It was after he left Maritzburg United F.C. that Richard Ofori joined the Orlando Pirates. He signed a three-year contract with Pirates on 20 October 2020. He has since shown what he is capable of. Two months after joining the Pirates, he helped the club to end their six-year trophy drought by winning the MTN 8 tournament after beating Bloemfontein Celtic 2–1 in the final. Apart from his salary, Ofori also earns from endorsements including the one he has with Puma.
It is noteworthy that Richard Ofori is also fully functional for the Ghana national football team as a goalkeeper.
4. Happy Jele
- Salary: R200,000
- Net Worth: N/A
- Position: Defender
- Joined The Club In: 2006
Happy Jele is currently the fourth highest-paid Orlando Pirates player with a monthly salary of R200,000. This figure translates to about R2.4 million every year. Jele has been playing for the Orlando Pirates since 2006 when he was just about 19 years old. Born on 1 January 1987, he is now 36 years old and is one of the oldest members of the team. Over the years, Happy Jele, who is considered to be an Orlando Pirates legend, has become one of the most respected Pirates stars. He serves as the captain of the team.
The South African footballer was born in Middelburg, a large farming and industrial town in the South African province of Mpumalanga. It was here that he was raised by his family. Growing up, Jele adored football and eventually began his youth career by joining Columbus FC. There is a dearth of information about Jele’s moves before joining the Orlando Pirates. However, even though the details are quite sketchy, some reports show that after leaving Columbus FC, he played for the Thushaganang Swallows and also trained with Walter Stars before becoming a member of the Orlando Pirates.
Eventually, on the 1st day of August 2006, the footballer signed for Orlando Pirates and quickly proved his worth. Over the years, he has proven to be really rock-solid at the back, earning the respect of the fans who now fondly refer to him as Magents. According to reports, at some point, he was the highest-earning Orlando Pirates star before new players came and took over the spot. In 2020, Jele signed a new contract with the Pirates, extending his stay with the club until 2022. This move has been seen as a gesture of reward for the veteran footballer who has been with the club for a very long time.
As the fourth highest-paid Orlando Pirates player, it is clear that Happy Jele earns a lot of money from his football career. However, this is not the only way he makes money. The star player makes money from other sources, including his endorsements with reputable companies. The footballer has endorsement deals with brands such as Lexus and Adidas South Africa. However, his exact net worth is not very clear at the moment. Happy Jele also plays for the South African national team as a defender.
5. Fortune Makaringe
- Salary: R185,000
- Net Worth: $950,000
- Position: Midfielder
- Joined The Club In: 2019
Fortune Makaringe is currently the 5th highest-paid Orlando Pirates player with a monthly salary of R185,000. This figure translates to R2.2 million every year. Makaringe joined Pirates in 2019 and has proven to be a great signing, having integrated quickly into the team, helping them with his brilliance on the pitch.
Born on 13 May 1993, the player is now 29 years old. The South African footballer was born in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa where he was raised. Like most football stars, Makaringe started loving the game since he was very little and as a teenager, he began his career with the youth team of Moroka Swallows F.C., a South African professional football club based in Soweto. He gained lots of confidence and became very skillful with the Moroka Swallows. Eventually, he left the team in 2015.
On January 1, 2015, Fortune Makaringe kick-started his senior career by joining Maritzburg United F.C., a South African football club based in the city of Pietermaritzburg. It was here that Makaringe really got the chance to grow into who he has become now. As a midfielder, he was very involved in supplying key passes that killed off games. While with Maritzburg United F.C., Makaringe became one of the club’s most valuable stars and was also key to helping the club avoid relegation. He remained with the club for about four years from 2015 to 2019 before he eventually left. In 2019, there were so many rumors that he was going to leave and he eventually confirmed it in June that year.
On July 1, 2019, one month after confirming that he was leaving Maritzburg United F.C., Fortune Makaringe signed for Orlando Pirates. The move was highly anticipated especially because Orlando Pirates was bent on signing him. The club was even ready to dish out R4 million and a player in exchange for the midfielder. Eventually, the deal went through. The star player has since become a fan favorite at the club. This is mainly because of his very impressive dribbling skills and speed.
Fondly referred to as ‘the dribbling wizard’ by many fans, Makaringe is widely known to be one of the most skillful midfielders in the Premier Soccer League. Thousands of fans troop out to watch him every week and the stadiums often explode with chants when he touches the ball. He has so far been very impressive for the Orlando Pirates and has earned a spot as a regular starter.
The bulk of Fortune Makaringe’s earnings comes from his football career. However, he also earns money from other sources, including endorsement deals. According to reports, the talented midfielder has an endorsement deal with Adidas South Africa. His net worth has been pegged at about $950,000 although this figure has remained a disputed one.
Fortune Makaringe also plays for the South Africa national football team and has scored several goals for the team in dozens of appearances.
6. Maliele Vincent Pule
- Salary: R170,000
- Net Worth: $700,000
- Position: Forward
- Joined The Club In: 2018
Maliele Vincent Pule is currently the sixth highest-paid Orlando Pirates player right now with a monthly salary of R170,000. This figure translates to about R2.04 million every year. Pule is an integral part of the Pirates team and is often considered to be one of the most dangerous strikers and great dribblers at the club.
Born on 10 March 1992, Pule is now 30 years old. The South African soccer player was born in QwaQwa, a town in the Free State Province of South Africa. Growing up, Pule took a keen interest in football and started practicing it as a child. He would kick balls around the QwaQwa town and join other boys to play the game. It was during this time that talent scouts from African Warriors F.C., a South African football club based in Phuthaditjhaba, Free State, saw him and decided to pick him for their youth league. He eventually joined the senior team in 2012, playing for about two years before leaving in 2014.
After leaving African Warriors F.C., Maliele Vincent Pule went on to join Bidvest Wits FC on July 1, 2014. At the time, Pule was not popular but it was hoped that exploits with Bidvest could take him right out there to the top and make him very famous especially with his dribbling skills. This was exactly what happened. The star player quickly gained serious attention with his incredible moves and fast feet. Fans began to call him ‘Shuffle’ because of the way he displayed his skills at every match. He went on to help the team win the 2016 MTN 8 Cup, 2017 Telkom Knockout Cup, and Premier Soccer League (PSL) title. Pule remained with Bidvest Wits FC for about four years before leaving the club in 2018 after appearing in about 41 games and scoring 21 goals in the process.
It was after leaving Bidvest Wits FC that Maliele Vincent Pule joined the Orlando Pirates. Pule signed with the Pirates on July 1, 2018. The move was a highly anticipated one considering the fact that Pule, who had established himself as one of the most dangerous left-wingers in the country, refused to renew his contract with Bidvest after the end of the 2017/1028 season. As a result, all eyes were on him to see where he would go to especially because different clubs were jostling to get him. Eventually, he joined the Pirates. Pule quickly rose to become a fan favorite at Orlando Pirates soon after joining the club and has continued to thrill fans with his stamina and ability to dribble past opponents with great precision.
It is not clear what other income sources Pule has apart from the salary that he receives at Orlando Pirates. At the moment, some sources have pegged his net worth at about $700,000. This figure is expected to grow as time goes on.
7. Gabadinho Mhango
- Salary: R150,000
- Net Worth: N/A
- Position: Forward
- Joined The Club In: 2019
Gabadinho Mhango is currently the seventh highest-earning Orlando Pirates player with a monthly salary of about R150,000. This figure translates into R1.8 million every year. The footballer played for several clubs before joining the Pirates in 2019 and has proven to be a valuable addition to the set of talented players at the club.
Born on 27 September 1992, Mhango is now 30 years old. The Malawian footballer was born in Chiweta, an area in the Rumphi District of Malawi where he was raised. After having developed a love for football, Mhango got to chance to nurture his talent when he joined the Nyasa Big Bullets FC, a Malawian football club based in Blantyre. Mhango joined the club in July 2012. He remained with the team for about one year before leaving them in 2013.
When he left the Nyasa Big Bullets, Gabadinho Mhango made an entry into the South African football league when he signed for the Bloemfontein Celtic Football Club. Mhango signed for Bloemfontein on August 27 2013 and quickly began to prove himself as a valuable buy. However, in January 2016, he was loaned out to Lamontville Golden Arrows F.C., another South African soccer club based in Durban. Mhango played with the Golden Arrows for some months until his loan term ended in June 2016 and he returned to Bloemfontein Celtic. Just days later, he left the club.
After leaving Bloemfontein Celtic FC, Gabadinho Mhango joined Bidvest Wits FC after the club paid the equivalent of R3.4 million to have the rights to field him. Mhango signed with Bidvest Wits on July 1, 2016, and remained with the club for about three years before leaving them in 2019. During this time, he made 41 appearances for the club and banged in a number of goals. It was after leaving Bidvest Wits that Mhango joined Orlando Pirates where he now plies his trade.
Mhango signed with the Pirates on July 1 2019 and quickly began to do exploits. In fact, in his very first season with the club, he banged in a total of 16 goals in 18 appearances. This was a very impressive feat and became a record as no other Pirates player had attained that feat in the last 10 seasons of the team’s campaign. That same season, he was crowned the ABSA Premiership Golden Boot winner. He has continued to do even more exploits ever since, justifying his earnings at the club.
It is noteworthy that even though he earns a lot of money from playing football, Gabadinho Mhango also earns money from other sources. The footballer is actually a businessman who owns a clothing line called “GABA WEAR”. He launched the outfit in Blantyre, Malawi. Also, apart from playing for his club, he is also very active in the Malawian national football team where he has been banging in goals as well.
8. Innocent Maela
- Salary: R150,000
- Net Worth: R9.6 million
- Position: Defender, Left-back
- Joined The Club In: 2017
Innocent Maela also earns a salary of R150,000 with Gabadinho Mhango at Orlando Pirates. This translates to R1.8 million every year. Maela joined the Pirates in 2017 and has been very active ever since establishing himself as one of the most versatile defenders in the ABSA premier league.
Born on 14 August 1992, he is now 30 years old. The South African football star was born in the city of Emalahleni which was previously known as Witbank in the South African Province of Mpumalanga. The footballer started playing football since he was very young and eventually got the chance to play professionally in July 2012 when he joined Witbank Spurs, a South African football club based in Witbank. He played for the club for about two years before he left them in 2014. He made about 35 appearances for the team during that time and, even though he was a defender, he banged in many goals.
After leaving Witbank Spurs, Innocent Maela joined Thanda Royal Zulu F.C., another South African club based in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal. Maela played for the club for about three years before leaving them in 2017. During that time, he made about 82 appearances for the club and scored 5 goals despite being primarily a defender. However, at the end of the 2016/2017 season, Thanda Royal Zulu F.C. was sold off to Amazulu FC, a South African professional football club based in the city of Durban. The move devastated Maela and he revealed that he nearly quit football because of it. But he got the necessary encouragement to continue.
On July 1, 2017, Innocent Maela joined the Orlando Pirates. He has since risen to become one of the core defenders in the team. Maela, who primarily operates at left-back, also gets played as a center-half by the coach and this has pleased him immensely. According to him, playing at different positions has helped him grow. Maela has been a very important member of the Pirates team. In 2020, he played a very big role in helping the Orlando Pirates end their six-year trophy drought by winning that year’s edition of the MTN 8 Cup.
Apart from playing for the Pirates, Innocent Maela is also very active for the South Africa national football team.
9. Thembinkosi Lorch
- Salary: R108,000
- Net Worth: R7.6 million
- Position: Midfielder
- Joined The Club In: 2017
Thembinkosi Lorch is currently the 9th highest-paid Orlando Pirates play. The superstar footballer is very popular in the Premier Soccer League and has many fans. He is also one of the most admired stars in the Pirates team, having been consistent in doing exploits for the popular club where he has been since 2017.
Born on 22 July 1993, Lorch is now 29 years old. The South African professional footballer was born in Bloemfontein, the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa. Lorch, who has been nicknamed “Nyoso” by his many fans, started his career at Maluti FET College FC in 2013 where he was very impressive. He caught the attention of Orlando Pirates who signed him on July 1, 2015. Lorch spent his first few years with the Pirates going on loan to other clubs. On July 22, 2015, he was loaned to Cape Town All-Stars, a South African football club based in Cape Town. He remained there until June 30, 2016, when he returned to the Pirates. On July 8, 2016, he was loaned out again, this time to Chippa United F.C., another South African professional football club based in Gqeberha where he played until 2017.
On January 22, 2017, Thembinkosi Lorch returned to Orlando Pirates at the end of his loan and was integrated into the team properly. He has since risen to become one of the very important players at the club. In fact, in 2019, Lorch was so brilliant on the pitch for Orlando Pirates that he was named South African Footballer of the Season. He was also named the Players’ Player of the Season. Lorch continues to make very important contributions to the Pirates team.
It also noteworthy that he not only plays for the Orlando Pirates but also actively plays for the South African national team, the Bafana Bafana. In fact, he has been nicknamed ‘Bafana Bafana’s quiet assassin’ for the very crucial roles he plays in matches. Remarkably, on 6th July 2019, Lorch scored South Africa’s only goal against Egypt at the 2019 African Cup of Nations. It was this goal that knocked Egypt out of the competition in the round of 16.
10. Tshegofatso Mabaso
- Salary: R100,000
- Net Worth: N/A
- Position: Forward
- Joined The Club In: 2019
Tshegofatso Mabaso is currently the tenth highest-paid Orlando Pirates player with a monthly salary of R100,000 which translates to about R1.2 million. The star footballer has been with the Pirates since 2019 and has grown into one of their highly admired players.
Born on 1 October 1996, he is 29 years old at the moment. The South African man was born in Botshabelo, a township in the Free State Province of South Africa. Like most players, he started dreaming of playing football since he was a very little kid. Eventually, he got the chance to develop his talent when he joined the youth team of Bloemfontein Celtic. Years later in October 2014, he was promoted to the senior Bloemfontein team and made his first-team debut during a Telkom Knockout encounter with AmaZulu on the 4th of that month. Mabaso played for the Bloemfontein Celtic for about five years before he left the club in 2019. During that time, he made 49 appearances for the club and scored 9 goals in the process.
After leaving Bloemfontein Celtic, Tshegofatso Mabaso joined the Orlando Pirates. He signed for the club on July 1, 2019 and has been a vital member of the team. Remarkably, he famously produced a match winning header when Orlando Pirates clashed with Nigerian club Enyimba FC in their CAF Confederation Cup Group A match at the Orlando Stadium. He has warmed his way into the hearts of fans over the years.
Apart from playing for his club, Mabaso has represented the South Africa national team at the senior level. He had also previously featured for the South Africa U23s.