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Football | Absa Premiership

Patrick Malokase © Backpagepix

Dikwena ready for championship test



Surprise title challengers Platinum Stars will likely know tonight if their dream run in the league this season has the potential to end in silverware as they face defending champions Orlando Pirates in Soweto.

Dikwena are level on 37 points with Pirates, though they have played a game more, with the pair two points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.

Johnson was delighted with the clinical nature of the 3-0 win over Ajax Cape Town on Saturday that saw the side record back-to-back victories since the resumption of the league earlier this month, but says this is a massive test of their character.

“This is an opportunity for us to play against one of the biggest sides in South Africa and we are humble in our approach to the game,” Johnson told supersport.com.

“But we have shown some good form and I hope we can carry on where we left off. We want to go to the Orlando Stadium and play as competitively as we can. May the best team win … hopefully that is us.”

Stars will be without injured midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha and, perhaps crucially, striker Henrico Botes, who is suspended after picking up his fourth yellow card of the season against Ajax at the weekend.

But otherwise Johnson says he has a clean bill of health and is thankful with the team playing three games in eight days.

“We have hit the ground running with three matches in quick succession and that causes a bit of a problem for any team,” he says. “Players get fit during the season and so coming from a pre-season the players need to be managed properly. I must say congratulations to the medical staff who have done exceptionally well and it looks like we will be up and ready for Wednesday.”

Dikwena have blown hot and cold away from home this season, with four wins and four defeats from nine matches on the road.

They will hope to improve on an Absa Premiership record that has seen them claim just one victory over Pirates in 19 previous meetings. The Buccaneers have claimed 10 wins in that time.

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