Benni, Bibo are back
ORLANDO Pirates' assistant coach Teboho Moloi has described their Absa Premiership fixture against Moroka Swallows as a must-win clash but admitted yesterday that it will not be easy against the Dube Birds.
The reigning league champions engage Gordon Igesund's side at Dobsonville in the original Soweto derby and kickoff is 8pm.
"That's the big one for us and it's a must-win clash for us. We will go all out to defend our title but we need to plan properly," said the man also known as "Tebza Ngwana" in soccer circles.
"Swallows' second-round league matches have a lot of historical moments for Pirates in terms of challenging for the league. I remember in 1994 when we were left with seven games our then coach Mike Makaab said the two games against Swallows and (BidVest) Wits would decide our league challenge.
"I had just returned from Turkey, I scored the only goal of the match with a header. The next match we went on to beat Wits and finished on top of the log after all the games.
"Then in 1992, we beat Swallows midweek but went on to lose 5-1 to Jomo Cosmos and that's how we missed the league. That is why I emphasise the important of the two next games, we need to beat Swallows and do the same with Wits on Saturday in Orlando."
Moloi is over the moon with the return of attacking midfielder Thandani "Bibo" Ntshumayelo and veteran striker Benni "Magic Feet" McCarthy from one match suspension.
"The return of Benni and Bibo will give us more options," he said.
Meanwhile, Swallows and Pirates' players will visit the Soweto Old Age Home where they will spend some time with the senior citizens tomorrow.
"In the spirit of the original derby, players will donate blankets to our senior citizens," said Swallows' brand manager Siya Sangweni. "It is winter and we want them to have a warm season. This is a game that could decide the league and we expect a big crowd."
Polokwane: Kaizer Chiefs vs Maritzburg United
Lucas Moripe: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Platinum Stars, Athlone: Santos vs SuperSport United, Nelson Mandela Bay: Jomo Cosmos vs Bloemfontein Celtic, Charles Mopeli: Free State Stars vs Black Leopards, Moses Mabhida: AmaZulu vs Lamontville Golden Arrows and Milpark: BidVest Wits vs Ajax Cape Town.
l Other games start at 7.30pm.