United fear no 'Park of Pain'

INJURED: Orlando Pirates' Innocent Mdledle. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 16/10/05. © Sowetan.
INJURED: Orlando Pirates' Innocent Mdledle. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 16/10/05. © Sowetan.

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Orlando Pirates go back to Ellis Park for the first time in six weeks this Sunday and Benoni Premier United have been forewarned that it will be a sad homecoming.

The last time the Buccaneers played at the "Park of Pain" was on February 21 when they beat Maritzburg United 1-0. Two games against Celtic and Sundowns have since been postponed because of rain and a clash with a Fifa date.

Benoni spokesman Simon Ngobeni yesterday came across as one with little regard for the tactical acumen of Bucs coach Bibey Mutombo, who qualified in Europe.

"Tactically, Pirates have no chance. I challenge them to prove they can do better than they have in their last four, five games. They can only win this one through sheer guts and courage, which is unlikely," said Ngobeni.

Ngobeni dismissed rumours of wrangling in the Rabbits' burrow.

Rumours abound that club chairman Dumisani Ndlovu has become the de facto coach after Sonas Malope's failure to get the team out of the relegation zone.

"Those are rumours spread by people hell-bent on destroying the team," said Ngobeni.

Pirates were yesterday waiting for Lucas Thwala and Benedict Vilakazi to be assessed after playing for Bafana Bafana on Wednesday.

Benoni's Bennet Parker is suspended.

Innocent Mdledle is fit, but Fikru Tefera of Ethiopia and Lelo Mbele of the Democratic Republic of Congo are stuck in Kinshasa after the Afcon 2008 qualifier between their respective countries was postponed from last weekend until this weekend because of civil unrest.

"We have to win this one for our supporters and consolidate our position on the log," said Bucs official Floyd Mbele.

The battle for survival continues for Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala, where they host Ajax Cape Town tomorrow at 8pm.