Absa Premiership

Pirates receive injury boosts ahead of Soweto derby

2018-02-27 13:58
Abbubaker Mobara (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates have been boosted ahead of Saturday's Soweto derby, as Abbubaker Mobara has returned to full fitness, while Augustine Mulenga is not far off.

Mobara has been out since the beginning of the year with a groin strain, but passed a fitness test last week and has returned to training.

Mulenga, who joined from Zanaco FC at the end of January, has yet to make his Premiership bow. Having just arrived in South Africa and secured a work permit, the Zambian international picked up a knee strain which saw him miss the 4-2 win over Chippa United.

However, assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena had some positive news to report.

"Mulenga is 90% back. He should be taking part in proper training for the entire week," confirmed Mokwena on Monday, according to KickOff website.

"He's about ready to go. He hasn't missed much but we had to be a little bit more careful with him because it was ligaments around the knee.

"When you think of the work that was done before he came to us, in preparation for the CHAN, you can understand the accumulation of fatigue which led to the scare on his knee."

Aside from Mobara and Mulenga, Mokwena also confirmed the return of Mpho Makola. 

Goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane took a knock to the head during the win in Port Elizabeth, but has been given the go-ahead. However, Pirates are still sweating on the fitness of Xola Mlambo.

"From the Chippa game, Jackson had a little bit of a concussion scare, but he's been checked and granted permission to train with the team," Mokwena explained.

"We've got a bit of a concern with Xola Mlambo. He's gone for further assessment and we will get more feedback later.

"Musa Nyatama picked up a deadleg but should be okay. A deadleg usually takes about two to three days to heal.

"Gladwin Shitolo is back. He had a grade-one ankle sprain and took part in training. What helped is that we also gave him a week off to spend with family in Limpopo."

Pirates head into preparation for the encounter with Chiefs in second place on the Absa Premiership log - four points behind Mamelodi Sundowns and one ahead of their Soweto rivals.

Kick-off is at 15:30.

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Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 15:00
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