Arrows may burst Pirates' bubble
ORLANDO Pirates will be hard to catch as the SA Premiership heads into the final straight of the 2011-12 soccer season.
Three points clear and with two winnable games ahead over the next 15 days, the Buccaneers are now strong favourites to retain their league title.
But pitfalls await.
One of them is Golden Arrows, whom Pirates face at Moses Mabhida on May 19, the last Saturday of the Premiership.
"There are no Christmas gifts in May," said Arrows coach Muhsin Ertugral, who intends to field his strongest team on that day despite being safe from relegation.
"We are going out to win every game that we play. I'm not going to field youngsters; we are going to field the best team that we have."
Without mentioning Pirates by name, the Turk added ominously: "Those who want to win the championship need to earn it".
And even before they face Arrows, Pirates have a tricky encounter with Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium on May 12.
One man who doesn't see a Pirates win as a foregone conclusion is Moroka Swallows boss Gordon Igesund, whose team is only four points adrift of the leaders and just two behind second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, with a game in hand over the three teams ahead of him (SuperSport being the third).
"We've still got our noses in it," said Igesund. "Anything is possible."
Swallows must still face Black Leopards (tonight), Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United (away). They have two big aces up their sleeves, too. Siyabonga Nomvethe and David Mathebula have scored 27 goals between them and both are at the top of their games.
Gavin Hunt, coach of SuperSport, may have given up on winning the league (so he said after losing to Pirates on Tuesday night) but don't write them off.
Sundowns may have done themselves the greater damage by suffering stage fright at Soccer City on Wednesday, losing 2-0 to Chiefs.