‘We’ve got to be at our best’
14 Dec 2012
JOHANNESBURG — Orlando Pirates must improve up front if they are to close the gap on Premiership front runners Kaizer Chiefs and extend their unbeaten run to nine games in the league campaign, says coach Roger de Sa.
Pirates, three points behind Chiefs, take on Maritzburg United in the 15th round of league matches in Port Elizabeth tonight.
“It will be difficult for us, but we’ve got to score goals,” De Sa said.
“We’ve scored one goal in the last two games and we’ve been giving quite a few away, so we’re look to get back on scoring form.”
Pirates had churned out goals in November, netting 10 times in four matches, but have since played to a goalless draw against Chippa United and a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby.
De Sa said his side had emerged from the derby clash unscathed and would be ready for the Maritzburg game after a midweek break.
“They’re all pretty good. I don’t have any major injury issues either. Everybody is coming back to fitness,” he said.
“Obviously, the guys who have played in the derby will probably, hopefully, be a bit more fit and ready, so it doesn’t look too bad.”
The Soweto outfit have a good away record this season, with four victories and just one defeat from seven matches.
De Sa was counting on support from Pirates fans to help his side to another positive result at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“Going to Maritzburg is always difficult, but it’s a neutral ground, and one thing I’ve learnt at Pirates is that you never really play away — there’s a massive crowd all the time.
“I think we’re pretty fortunate that we’re playing in PE. It can take away the home ground advantage of Maritzburg and maybe balance things out a little bit.”
De Sa pointed out, however, that his team had not played well there in the past.
“We’re looking forward to it, but I don’t think Pirates have a very good record there.
“They took one of the Caf [Confederation of African Football] games there a couple of years ago and it wasn’t a very good performance.”
The high-flying Team of Choice are fourth on the log, five points behind Bucs, and both sides will be looking to cement themselves further in the race for the title ahead of the league break.
“Maritzburg have had a very good season so far and it’s important for us to win every game we play,” De Sa said.
“We know they’re pretty cagey, and they’re very difficult to beat, so we’ve got to be at our best, there’s no doubt about it.”
Tomorrow, Chiefs take on University of Pretoria at FNB Stadium, while Chippa United host AmaZulu in a log-bottom clash at Philippi Stadium.
Black Leopards play Free State Stars in Polokwane, Wits host Mamelodi Sundowns at Bidvest Stadium and SuperSport United face Platinum Stars in Atteridgeville.
On Sunday, Bloemfontein Celtic are at home to Moroka Swallows at Botshabelo Stadium and Golden Arrows host Ajax Cape Town in Umlazi.
Tonight’s match kicks off at 8?pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.