Revenge only one factor in Bucs clash

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Visiting Tottenham Hotspur are expected to up the tempo when they meet Orlando Pirates in their second game of the Vodacom Challenge at Newlands tonight (8.35).

And that's because of a few variables involved in this fixture. First, there is the revenge factor which Spurs hinted at at the launch of this competition after Pirates not only beat them, but toyed around with the north Londoners, two years ago.

Secondly, Spurs got a wake-up call from Kaizer Chiefs in their first game at Durban's King's Park Rugby Stadium on Saturday.

Moreover, Spurs central midfielder Jermain Jenas seems to sum up the feeling of his teammates in suspecting Pirates will present "a more testing examination".

"They finished higher in the league," JJ told his club's official website.

As a result, Spurs manager Martin Jol is expected to deploy his best defensive wall against the Buccaneers, with Younes Kaboul returning to partner Michael Dawson at the heart of defence and Pascal Chimbonda getting the nod ahead of Ricardo Rocha, who was exposed a few times by Chiefs' Onismor Bhasera on Saturday.

Jol might also opt to start with new signing Darren Bent, who came on and changed the complexion of the game against Amakhosi.

Pirates coach Bibey Mutombo has a chance to measure his new midfield partnership of Mlungisi Gumbi and Joseph Kamwendo against Didier Zokora and Jenas in the middle of the park.

The pair played together when Bucs beat newly promoted Mvela League side Hanover Park 1-0 on Saturday but they, and the central defensive pair of Destin Makita and Lehlohonolo Seema, come up against the real thing tonight.

It will be interesting to see who gets tasked with keeping watch over the quick Robbie Keane who has scored three goals in three off-season friendlies so far.

Joseph Makhanya and Bennet Chenene will have to prove that they are just what the doctor ordered down the channels to find Ralph Matema and Lebohang Mokoena, who come up against Kaboul and Dawson.

Pirates full-backs Innocent Mdledle and Lucky Lekgwathi ended the season on a high but will they contain the likes of Steed Malbranque and Wayne Routledge or Adel Taraabt?

Mutombo has been quoted saying he will also be looking at academy graduates Tlou Segolela and Linda Mkhwanazi either tonight or against Chiefs on Thursday.

lFor more on Pirates see page 3