Absa Premiership

Preview: Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates

2017-03-03 19:27
Kjell Jonevret (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - New Orlando Pirates coach Kjell Jonevret heads into his first ever Soweto derby when his side face Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 3:30pm.

Jonevret began his tenure with a 1-1 home draw against Polokwane City last weekend and now gets his first taste of all the buzz and anticipation that comes with a game that will be played out in front of more than 90 000 spectators.

Pirates (occupying 10th spot on the standings) are unbeaten in their last two league matches, but have not won in nine Premiership outings, and as such, victory against their traditional foes could provide Jonevret and his team with the impetus they need to turn their fortunes around. Amakhosi on the other hand are on a superb run of form – they drew 1-1 with Ajax Cape Town last weekend, but won five consecutive matches before that.

Steve Komphela's side are in fourth position on the table, just a point behind the joint leaders, SuperSport United and Cape Town City.

Komphela, however, admits that he could do without the favourite tag weighing down his side.

"We'd love to win it but the greatest danger is that everything is pointing at us [to win] and we hate that. Sometimes when you seem to be the favourite it turns to be the other way round. So, we're fully prepared," he said.

"Orlando Pirates remain Orlando Pirates. You remember when Pirates were campaigning in Africa - they were just hot during that time of Eric Tinkler. They would hit on the transition like nobody," he cautioned.

Jonevret feels his side have the quality to beat Amakhosi, but need to adopt the right mind-set. And the underdog label suits him just fine.

"The Derby has its own life, and I can only marvel over the possibilities, but for me there is no pressure over the result because so far this season Chiefs has been the better team, and I think the pressure is all on them to deliver.

"I want to win, I hope to win and I can only do that if the players follow the plan. We will have a game plan for every match and situation, we just need the players to believe in themselves," the Swede told the Pirates website.

"It is difficult but every day we give them [the players] positive reinforcement, we focus on improving the positives and eliminating the negatives and I know we will get there as a unit.

"This is a great team with a great legacy we still have a chance, all is not lost yet and we will surprise people at the end."

Thabo Matlaba and Marc van Heerden are both expected to be available again for Bucs after recovering from recent knocks while Thabo Qalinge and Thabo Rakhale have returned to training but are not expected to feature.

Chiefs defender Lorenzo Gordinho returns from suspension as will Sea Robbers shot-stopper Jackson Mabokgwane. 

The first round league encounter ended 0-0. Last season's two league matches provided a 3-1 win for Bucs and a 1-1 draw.

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Friday, 19 January 2018
Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Cape Town City FC v Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, Goble Park 15:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 18:00
AmaZulu FC v SuperSport United, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Chippa United v Golden Arrows, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Baroka FC v Kaizer Chiefs, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
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