Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates will not underestimate a strong Platinum Stars outfit, according to Buccaneers coach Roger de Sa, as they look to regain the Premiership lead when they host the Rustenburg side at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
“We've gone 11 (league) games now without a loss and the team are the current champions so we've got to be confident,” De Sa said ahead of the midweek clash.
“But we've got to be wary too and respect them and they've earned the respect from everybody in the league this year.”
Both teams have been prominent in the race for the league title.
The Soweto side, holding a game in hand, are level with Stars on 37 points, but they hold a narrow advantage on goal difference. Kaizer Chiefs are two points clear at the top of the standings.
“The mood's always been good from the first day I arrived here," De Sa said.
"We've come through a tough period and they're a very good bunch of players, very motivated and ambitious.
“But it's going to be a very tough match. They (Stars) have turned this league into a three-horse race and they're playing good football. They've been very good, I've watched them.
“They play to their strengths and are very disciplined and organised and it's very good for the game.”
De Sa said they would not focus on any specific Stars player as the opposition were a well oiled unit.
“When a team has done that well, it's very much a collective effort, everybody is contributing, there's a lot of good players.
“They're well balanced and it's definitely been a team effort from them, without a doubt.
“We've got to match them for effort otherwise we get could a negative result as well.”
Pirates are fresh off a 5-0 thumping of semi-professional Comoros side Djabal in their Caf Champions League preliminary round first-leg fixture at the weekend, and De Sa admitted the Premiership title holders were facing a busy schedule.
“There are a lot of games, one after the next, and it looks quite scary with all the travelling,” he said.
“We've got to try and rotate and go game by game, as we can't really plan too far ahead. It can change drastically with one or two injuries or suspensions.”
Pirates were facing injury concerns, with Benni McCarthy, Rooi Mahamutsa and Robyn Johannes unavailable for the match, while a call was expected to be made on the fitness of Siyabonga Sangweni on Tuesday.
In other games on Wednesday, Free State Stars face Maritzburg United in Phuthaditjhaba, University of Pretoria host Moroka Swallows at Tuks Stadium, Black Leopards play Kaizer Chiefs in Polokwane, AmaZulu are at home to SuperSport United in Umlazi and Wits square up against Chippa United at Bidvest Stadium.