De Sa, Hunt ready to ‘get it on’
Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa hopes his side is ready to return to action after the mid-season break when the Buccaneers host SuperSport United in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night, kick-off 7:30pm.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has been on a two month hiatus due to the Christmas break and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, and while De Sa admits he was unhappy about the break because he felt his team were just building momentum, he is confident that the Buccaneers can pick-up where they left off in 2012.
“For us the momentum was starting to pick-up before the break, but unfortunately the break came and we have to try pick-up where we left off,” explains the Pirates coach.
Before the break the Soweto-based club had gone ten league matches without a loss and ended their December run with two wins which sees them in second place on the log, one point behind arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
Looking ahead to the game against SuperSport United, De Sa admits his side are tired of practise matches, and despite facing a tough team in the Matsatsantsa, they are ready to take the field again.
“We have had a lot of training matches and a lot of friendlies. We are ready to get back on the pitch in a serious capacity,” adds the Pirates mentor.
“Every game we play is going to be difficult and it is no different against SuperSport, but we have to pick-up and preform, and I am confident we will.”
Pirates will also be boosted by the form of defender Siyabonga Sangweni and striker Collins Mbesuma who returned to the squad after their respective teams were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations. Both players had a stellar tournament and will be vital in the Buccaneers push towards a third successive PSL crown.
SuperSport United, on the other hand, are currently eighth on the log, a massive 14 points behind Pirates.
It has been a rather disappointing season for Gavin Hunt’s team as the Matsatsantsa have only won one game away from home in the league this season, but have secured multiple draws subsequently picking up 11 points on their travels.
Matsatsantsa, though, suffered a huge blow in mid-week after midfielder George Maluleka picked up an injury and will miss the match. The midfielder will be out for up to six weeks after he tore a ligament in his knee.
Still, although he is going to miss the action, Maluleka is optimistic about his team’s chances of climbing up the table without his service.
“The mood in the camp is good and the boys are very excited to get going,” said the midfielder.
“We worked very hard in the mid-season break and we are aiming to finish in the top four. The boys are up for the fight.”
Coach Gavin Hunt echoes Maluleka’s statements saying, “It has been a frustrating last couple weeks for everybody. We are all sick and tired of playing training matches and practises. We looking forward to the match against Pirates, we are ready, let’s get it on.”
United will be boosted by the arrival of Bafana Bafana striker Bradley Grobler from Ajax Cape Town as he will add valuable experience to the Tshwane side having also played for Turkish side Gotzepe and Platinum Stars in the PSL.
The season’s first meeting between the two sides ended in a 0-0 stalemate at the Peter Mokapa stadium.