Bucs, Stars look to keep momentum
Still fresh from their respective midweek victories, Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars meet in a potentially explosive Absa Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday looking to maintain their momentum, kick-off at 6pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).
Stars overcame Ajax Cape Town 2-1 in midweek through goals by Luyolo Nomandela and Sedat Akoriko at the Charles Mopeli Stadium while the Buccaneers humiliated bitter rivals Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 at Loftus.
As a result of their win, Steve Komphela’s men find themselves eighth on the log with 13 points from nine matches and Bafana Bafana’s rising star, Katlego Mashego, is fully aware of the tough challenges that lie in wait for them at Orlando.
“It is going to be a tough game for us because Pirates are difficult to beat home,” says Mashego.
“They have built momentum and the manner in which they beat Sundowns proves that they mean business.”
To get the better of Pirates, who will be backed by a huge and passionate black and white crowd, Mashego feels that his side must guard against silly mistakes and follow instructions from Komphela.
“The best way to get the better of them is to put them under pressure and silence their crowd early on in the game,” added the Stars attacker.
They are going to try and unsettle us, but we have a good team with capable players to handle the pressure and our mission is to try and get the three points.”
For them to get the three points, Mashego and his attack partners such as Nomandela and Dove Wome will have to be at their best to beat Pirates’ keeper Senzo Meyiwa who gave a scintillating performance against Sundowns on Wednesday.
As he operates on the wings, Mashego said he is ready to come face to face with Pirates full-backs Thabo Matlaba or Patrick Phungwayo who have been in good form recently.
“I don’t think much about individual players but my main focus is to make a good contribution to the team,” he concluded.
Pirates, on the other hand, are placed second on the log with 17 points from the same number of games and have serious intentions of keeping close distance with current pacesetters Kaizer Chiefs who have accumulated four more points.
Pirates coach Roger De Sa will be looking for a repeat of the attacking performance from players such as Takesure Chinyana, Thulasize Mbuyane, and Sifiso Myeni who all scored in their demolition of Sundowns.
Meyiwa, who was chosen ahead of Moneeb Josephs in goal for the Buccaneers, is expected to be rewarded with his second straight starting place behind Siyabonga Sangweni and captain Lucky Lekgwathi who will be marshalling the defence.
Exciting Pirates defender Patrick Phungwayo said, “we are expecting a tough match against Stars because they are on a roll at the moment in both the cup and the league.”
Following the Sundowns demolition job, Phungwayo also added that “it is important for us to remain grounded and not to get over confident.
“We must just continue working hard as a team and approach the game in a professional manner. That’s the most important thing for us at the moment,” concluded the Pirates man.