Pirates return to Premiership action for the first time in two weeks, having successfully overcome Comoros’ Djabal Club d’Iconi 4-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round of the CAF Champions League.
Keeping competitive across multiple competitions will be a challenge for the Buccaneers, but one that coach Jose Riveiro is relishing: “We are playing in five different tournaments and there is no time to sleep if we are to do well in all of them,” said the Spanish tactician.
“You see, we are playing on Friday and Tuesday, then the weekend in three different competitions [CAFCL, DStv Prem and MTN8]. And our aim is to win all those three games. How do you win if you are sleeping? We know it’s tough but we have a team and players who are capable of doing the job on the field of play.”
As for City, they are looking to bounce back from three successive defeats: 1-2 against Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 and back-to-back 1-0 reverses at the hands of SuperSport United and Sekhukhune United in the league.
The Pirates v City clash takes place on Tuesday evening and will be preceded by a battle between SuperSport United and Golden Arrows at Peter Mokaba Stadium, with Matsatsantsa looking to continue their strong start to the campaign.
Wednesday’s action opens in the late afternoon with Polokwane City hosting Mamelodi Sundowns. The defending champions have registered five straight wins at the start of the season, with coach Rhulani Mokwena particularly happy with his team’s defensive work.
“The consistent trend now is that we give zero chances to the opposition, we limit [them] to maybe one on average from the past four games, and if they score [like with] Sekhukhune it was a free kick and a mistake that we shouldn’t have made,” said Mokwena.
He added, “Of course I know we can play better, I know that it’s still early in the season but I’m so impressed with the signs already, very early this season. We just just use the energy whether positive or negative to just galvanize us and push us to the next level.”
Another intriguing clash sees Stellenbosch FC welcome Kaizer Chiefs to the Athlone Stadium. The Amakhosi secured a much-needed first league win of the season this past weekend when they beat AmaZulu in emphatic style, but Stellies will be a tough opponent – even away from their traditional home base, the Danie Craven Stadium.
“To all the players, this is a moral booster for them going forward. Yes, we can score goals, which is very important,” said Chiefs coach Molefi Ntseki.
Wednesday will also feature Chippa United at home to Royal AM, Richards Bay looking to break an 18-game winless run in the league when they host Sekhukhune United, and promoted Cape Town Spurs chasing their first points of the season when they visit Moroka Swallows.