Cape Town - Platinum Stars are chasing their first win in 2018 and will hope to stun Orlando Pirates when they meet in the Absa Premiership at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 15:30.
This weekend sees Orlando Pirates return to a setting that was the catalyst to their 2018 season’s aspirations, Rustenburg. The second-coming of Micho Sredojevic was ushered in at the Royal Mafokeng Sports Complex where the Buccaneers held their pre-season camp following a disappointing 2016/17 season.
Fast forward five months, and the now resurgent Buccaneers are sitting seven points from the top of the table and return to the North West Province to take on former coach Roger De Sa.
Sredejovic and his men are undefeated in 2018 and aim to keep it that way when they take on the beleaguered Platinum Stars who languish at the foot of the Absa Premiership table.
Dikwena may have only managed to register three wins so far this season however, the men from Phokeng seem to always have an extra gear whenever they play Pirates.
From the days of Silver Stars with players such as Sailor Tshabalala and Surprise Moriri to more recently featuring the ever-green Robert N’gambi – matches against Dikwena have never been forgone conclusions.
The previous eight league encounters have produced six draws. In fact, the last time any team registered a win was back in 2016 (May 2); a 2-1 win for Stars. The last Pirates win over Dikwena was a 2-0 win in 2015 (February 14).
LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS
(Under season, result and scorers)
2012/13 Pirates 1-0 Stars - Klate
2013/14 Stars 0-3 Pirates - Ntshumayelo, Manyisa, Klate
2013/14 Pirates 1-1 Stars - Bacela; S. Mthembu
2014/15 Stars 0-2 Pirates - Majoro, Bacela
2014/15 Pirates 3-3 Stars - Makola, Manyisa, Sarr; Ngele 3
2015/16 Pirates 1-1 Stars - Sarr; Mabena
2015/16 Stars 2-1 Pirates - Sithole, Mabena; Myeni
2016/17 Pirates 1-1 Stars - Kutumela; Kunene
2016/17 Stars 0-0 Pirates
2017/18 Pirates 1-1 Stars - Matlaba; Ntuli
What the teams are saying…
Platinum Stars defender Luvolwethu Mpeta
"The mood is good and high in the camp. I think we played well against Sundowns, but we know they are a quality side and we were a bit unlucky to concede early," said Mpeta.
"We are doing well and we will keep fighting as we host Pirates. It is another big game for us and the mission is to win. The coach is motivating us and he is not looking at meeting his former bosses to prove a point, but to help us get a win based on our situation.
"We are looking forward to the game. The draw in Orlando is a motivator and the boys are ready to fight this weekend at home."
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic
"I told the players we need to keep our feet on the ground and approach this match against Platinum Stars with the zeal and commitment," said Sredojevic.
"There's that element of consistency that we need to maintain. You could see we went two steps forward and one step back. We have been a bit complacent and needed to dig deeper in order to win against Polokwane.
"We expect our next match against Platinum Stars to be much better. We'll do everything possible in all aspects such as technical awareness and mental strength to keep consistency."
Key players for Platinum Stars
Zama Rambuwane: The 21-year-old midfielder is aiming to make his mark in the elite division and was one of the stand-out performers last weekend against Sundowns. He will hope to start against Pirates and contribute to bagging the full three points.
Letsie Koapeng: Koapeng is one of the signings made by De Sa as they want to escape the relegation axe. Formerly on the books of Pirates, the forward will want to find the back of the net.
Key players for Orlando Pirates
Abbubaker Mobara: The skipper has been vocal when it comes to their title aspirations and will have to provide a solid performance in search of their third win in 2018. His versatility will be key against a stubborn Dikwena.
Lyle Foster: Coming off the bench and scoring an equaliser last weekend is a major boost for the youngster. Foster will be a man to watch by the hosts’ defence as he will hope to punish them when given room to manoeuvre.