Injury concerns for Pirates
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates' MTN8 final preparations took a knock with defender Rooi Mahamutsa limping out of the team's Tuesday morning training session at Johannesburg's Rand Stadium.
Mahamutsa left for the dressing rooms after having placed an ice pack on his hurt right knee, and would be a fitness concern ahead of the highly-anticipated clash against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
"He (Mahamutsa) and another player wanted to kick the ball and in the process got injured," Pirates coach Julio Leal said after training.
"He was in pain, but he is a strong player and hope that he will shake off the injury and be ready by Saturday."
Not yet fit to return to action was midfield kingpin Isaac Chansa, who was on the sidelines with the fitness coaches conducting light training.
A relief would be goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs and winger Tlou Segolela who, after both were withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana squad last week ahead of their Niger game, were back training showing no signs of their respective shoulder and knee ailments.
The Pirates medical team deemed them fit to train after tests on Monday.
This was despite the fact that Bafana team doctor Ephraim Nematswerani had also recommended Josephs go through a rehabilitation programme on his recently-operated shoulder.
Leal insisted the Buccaneers had a big enough squad should there be injury concerns.
"If it does not work out then we will have other players to look [to]," Leal said.
"Pirates is a team, and we all play well together as a team. I have to say though that it is unfortunate to have injuries at this time, but we are ready for the game."
The team would have some enforced changes upfront, with veteran former national striker Benni McCarthy not in contention because of suspension.
McCarthy would serve the last of his two-match ban having picked up a red card in Pirates' league game against Maritzburg United two weeks ago, and missed the second leg of the competition's semi-final against Mamelodi Sundowns.
While he was at training on Wednesday, the 33-year-old spent most of the session at the venue's gymnasium.
Pirates are the trophy's defending champions, with the first cup of the season forming a part of their treble title success from last season.
The Brazilian Leal would be aiming at his first official winner's medal since taking over the helm from Dutch strategist Ruud Krol in June.
To his credit, Leal started off his term at the club with an impressive record in the Soweto derby, with Pirates having beaten Chiefs twice in separate pre-season tournaments.