Cape Town - Orlando
Pirates full-back Thabo Matlaba is anticipating a difficult match when they
play his former club Free State Stars.
Read: Majoro refuses
to back down
The left back says the club where he began his career will
always have a special place in his heart but he will not be doing them any
favours in the Premiership clash.
"Ea Lla Koto will always hold a special place in my
heart, it is where I started my career in football but there is no time for
sentiment," the 27-year-old told the Orlando Pirates official website.
"We have a match on Wednesday night against them so the
focus has to shift to that.
"Today I am an Orlando Pirates and national team player
all because they gave me a platform to start and I will always be grateful for
that, but on Wednesday night that will be on hold for 90 minutes."
Matlaba believes that their position on the log has no
bearing on the threat they pose to Pirates, because teams always raise their
game against the top clubs.
"They are currently placed 13th on the log but that
doesn't mean anything in the context of this match.
"I know from personal experience from when I was with
them that playing against a big club like Pirates is self-motivating. They are
looking forward to the challenge, especially at home.
"Look, they need the points in order to stay clear of
the relegation battle, so yes I expect a tough challenge from them.
"They are naturally a defensive side, they like to stay
back, absorb the pressure and try and catch teams out on the counter-attack,
which has always been their approach when we travel to Charles Mopeli Stadium.
"We respect Free State Stars, they are a physically fit
side, they will pose a serious challenge and they will fight hard not to lose
Kick-off is at 19:30.