Home » Latest, PSL » Game Preview: Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs

Kicking off at the FNB Stadium at 15H30 on Saturday afternoon, the match provides the perfect opportunity for the Buccaneers to get themselves back into the title race; a win would leave them seven points behind league pace-setters AmaKhosi, with a game in hand.

Defeat, though, would leave Bucs a massive 13 points off the pace, a gap which may prove too much as the season heads into its final third.

Going into the game, Pirates may have beaten Moroka Swallows on Wednesday, but it was an edgy win, played without the authority that a championship-challenging team should possess.

The bottom line is that Pirates, who have had three different coaches in charge this season, have not been firing on all cylinders for some time now, their back-to-back cup final defeats to Platinum Stars earlier this season seemingly having knocked the wind out of their sails.

The more stable Chiefs come into the match from pretty much the opposite end of the scale; the defending league champions have seemed unstoppable in recent months, going on a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions before finally losing to Platinum Stars on Wednesday.

The loss would hardly have been a morale-killer for Chiefs, if anything it could serve as a reminder not to let complacency slip in, well-timed perhaps ahead of the biggest showdown in local football.

Team news

Orlando Pirates

Ahead of the Swallows clash, it was reported that Siyabonga Sangweni, Rooi Mahamutsa, Patrick Phungwayo and Lucky Lekgwathi were all available after recovering from injury. Coach Vladimir Vermezovic, though, elected to play only Lekgwathi on that night, but may well consider bringing Sangweni or Mahamutsa into central defence for the derby. Winger and five-time league winner Daine Klate is also likely to be back in contention for selection.

Kaizer Chiefs

Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune remains sidelined with injury, although Reyaad Pieterse has deputised well in his absence, while Brilliant Khuzwayo is also a decent option.

Bernard Parker, the league’s top goal scorer, has missed Amakhosi’s last two games with a hamstring injury, but is likely to be back for the derby. Other than that, Stuart Baxter’s side has no major concerns.

What they are saying

Bucs skipper Lucky ‘Phinda Mzala’ Lekgwathi

“For many people, the derby is not just a football match; it means a lot more than that. It is nice for the supporters who will be on the stands watching and also for those that will be watching on TV, but for us players, the derby is a task entrusted to us by the club’s followers which we have to execute diligently.

“It is not easy especially for younger and new players to hold their own and have a normal derby. People have huge expectations from us regardless of what the form of the team is at a particular time leading to the derby.

“It is difficult to predict a result because we are playing against a team that is currently leading the log and they have showed consistency in the league. They need to be respected for that but that is about it. We will go out in full force determined to stop them from getting a single point from us.

“It is our [home] game and we will call the shots. Our fans must come out in great numbers and let’s show ‘aggression’ in the way we sing and encourage the team.”

Chiefs talisman Siphiwe ‘Shabba’ Tshabalala

“We are disappointed that we lost a game before the Derby. We have switched gears already and went back to the drawing board immediately after the disappointment of last night. But the Derby is a bigger hurdle for us.

“Pirates are playing good football and they have good players. The good thing is they will come to us highly motivated and we will be there to defend our pride and bragging rights.

“From our side we take this game as a very important fixture. We just have to do what we have to do in 90 minutes and that is collecting the maximum points. We will give them respect as opponents but we will focus on our play and strategy on the day.

“Coming from a loss before the Derby means losing or drawing is not an option on Saturday. The excitement of the Derby as an event is still alive. The stadium will be packed and there will be hype all over.”

*Both players were speaking to their respective club websites

Source: Football411

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