Orlando Pirates will renew their rivalry with their Soweto neighbours Swallows FC in a DStv Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The Buccaneers remain winless this season having recorded their second successive draw in the league when they drew 0-0 with Marumo Gallants away in their last match on August 24.
They will be without Ntsikelelo Nyauza once again with the 31-year-old defender having picked up a straight red card in Pirates’ 2-2 draw against Stellenbosch FC in a league game almost two weeks ago.
Mandla Ncikazi, Pirates’ co-interim coach, says the team played with confidence against Gallants, but they need to improve in the final third as they look to avenge last month’s MTN8 quarterfinal loss to Swallows.
“With time we may improve but there is progress. There is confidence which is important to win. We need to isolate one side to overload and work on our entries,” Ncikazi said.
“We have a lot of work to do. In the first game [against Swallows] we had problems at the back. We were superb at the back [against Gallants]. We do need to fix what is happening in the final third.”
Meanwhile, Swallows are still undefeated this term having drawn 0-0 with Cape Town City in the MTN8 semifinal first-leg match away on August 29.
Prior to the encounter against City, the Beautiful Birds, who do not have any suspensions, had drawn 0-0 with AmaZulu FC away in a league match over two weeks ago.
The recent Fifa international break came at the right time for Swallows according to the club’s head coach Brandon Truter, who revealed where his side needs to improve after their clash with City.
“There were no legs, you can be aggressive, but you don’t go, your mind tells you another thing, but you can’t move. That’s something we have to look into,” Truter said.
“Now we have a break. We have time to work on it and we have time to recover from this game as well. It has been massive last week for us.”
Orlando Pirates: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Happy Jele: The Pirates captain remains an influential player for the Soweto giants despite being 34 and brings a calm, steady presence to the team’s defence. Jele will be determined to lead his side to their first win of the current season.
Tshegofatso Mabasa: The left-footed striker, who impressively netted five goals in two starts in the league for Bucs last season, made his return from injury against Gallants. Mabasa will be hoping to start against Swallows and find the back of the net.
Swallows: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Lebohang Mokoena: The Swallows captain is the man, who makes the Beautiful Birds tick from midfield as he has the ability to control the flow of the game in the offense. Mokoena will be eager to play a key role in helping Swallows defeat Bucs.
Ruzaigh Gamildien: The experienced striker will be looking forward to facing Pirates having scored twice against Bucs as Swallows claimed a 2-1 win in the MTN8 clash. Gamildien will be keen to torment the Bucs defence once again.
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