... and spotlight on Da Gama

HOPE: Premier United's Serge Djiehoua. 02/10/07. © Unknown.
HOPE: Premier United's Serge Djiehoua. 02/10/07. © Unknown.

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Following the success of the other host clubs in the Telkom Knockout Cup first round, pressure is on Orlando Pirates to show the resuscitated Benoni Premier United the exit.

Tonight's match comes after three clubs - Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic - qualified for the quarterfinals.

Kickoff is at 7.30pm.

The spotlight on tonight's match will definitely fall on Owen "Rubberdoll" da Gama, who was appointed Pirates' coach last Thursday.

"I'm well aware that all the other host clubs that have played their matches to date are through to the next round, it has put us under pressure," said Da Gama, who is also fluent in TshiVenda and Xitsonga.

"I started the job on Saturday. I have been trying to put things together, also try to understand each and every player.

"I also want to thank Pirates' management who organised all the matches played up to so far on a DVD, though I also had some of them.

"The problem at this stage is that we have several players injured such as Tico Tico [Bucuane], [Lebohang] Mokoena, Rudzani Ramudzuli and others. We cannot sit down and complain, we've have to make the best out of what we have."

The injured Pirates players are Mokoena (knee), Bucuane (ankle), Ralph Matema, Lucas Thwala and Irvin Mhlambi (all hamstring).

Mickey Modisane, Bucs' spokesman, said: "We need as many mabhakaniya as possible at the game to give Owen the golden welcome he deserves."

Oupa Mnguni, a spokesman for United, said they were equally confident of doing well, warning Pirates to brace to themselves for war.

Mnguni's brotherly warning should be taken seriously by Pirates after United grabbed four points in their last two Absa Premiership matches.

They handed Free State Stars their first defeat of the season, beating them 2-0 two weeks ago and went on to play to a 2-2 draw against Sundowns.

With Teko Modise, Joseph Kamwendo and Lehlohonolo Seema carrying Bucs' hopes, United will look up to Ryan Botha, Serge Djiehoua and Bennet Mnguni for a win.