Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates have three key players back in training - Siyabonga Sangweni, Benni McCarthy and goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs as they prepare for two tough matches this week.
Sangweni is likely to return for the derby but it is not sure whether McCarthy or Josephs can expect any role in Saturday’s match against Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City or Wednesday’s clash against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium.
The Bafana Bafana centre back had a knee injury which doctors said could take between two and six weeks to heal but coach Roger de Sa said last week already he was hoping he might be able to line up Sangweni this week.
“There was a lot of hoo-ha about him being out for six weeks but my hope is he’ll be ready this week,” said the Bucs boss after the 3-2 loss to Moroka Swallows one week ago
“We have had to make a choice about him resting, rather letting him skip a few games now than continue to play and then suffer further injury and then be ruled out for a longer period,” added De Sa.
Sangweni has played just one game since returning from the African Nations Cup, when Pirates beat SuperSport United 1-0.
He aggravated a knee injury during that league game, explained De Sa. “He has got other injuries too so we have to monitor him closely.”
The 31-year-old Sangweni was Pirates’ best player last season as they retained the league title. He played a total of 40 games in the season.
This campaign he has already started 20 caps for Pirates.
McCarthy is back from a calf injury, the latest in a long list of afflictions the 35-year-old striker.
McCarthy hurt his hamstring making his return for Bafana Bafana against Brazil in September in his first international in more than two years and has not been the same player since.
Josephs has been battling with a shoulder injury but before he was out had already lost his place in the first team to Senzo Meyiwa.