Cape Town - Joseph Mkhonza believes Kaizer Chiefs will miss Lorenzo Gordinho when they face Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby this weekend.
Chiefs face off against their fierce rivals in the Nedbank Cup last-32 and go into the fixture without defender Gordinho, who is suspended after receiving four yellow cards this season.
The 21-year old academy graduate has impressed for Amakhosi this term after breaking into the first team at the expense of Siyanda Xulu and Morgan Gould, and Mkhonza believes Chiefs will miss the youngster's presence.
"You know, this boy has come in and done so well this season," the former Glamour Boys defender told Goal website.
"His partnership with Mathoho is now perfect. Now Mathoho has to play with someone else and I think you can't just change the defenders, especially those two positions.
"The central defensive position is very crucial and that pair was doing so well.
"Not only defensively but also offensively, he was giving them the edge when they have set-pieces and corner kicks and free-kicks and even penalties."
Mkhonza also alluded to the fact that the defenders Gordinho has kept out of the team will be well short of match fitness.
"I think they are going to miss him because I don't even know who they are going to partner Mathoho," he added.
"Those other guys who are not playing let me make an example; Morgan Gould he hasn't played. I don't know, since the season started he has only played a few games. He is not match-fit, Xulu is also not match-fit.
"So I don't think that partnership without Gordinho will work. I think Bukenya is much better but he has also not been playing."