Stars missing stars
Any coach going into a big match minus influential players would justifiably be worried, but not Themba Sithole, the man in charge at Free State Stars.
The new Stars coach will be without Jonathan Mensah, Christopher Tsotetsi and Bruin Senokoane for tomorrow's game against Maritzburg United.
Ea Lla Koto welcome The Team of Choice in their Telkom Knockout first round game at Charles Mopeli Stadium in Namahadi.
The knowledgeable Sithole describes their absence as a blessing in disguise, saying it is a golden opportunity for other players to impress.
"Naturally, it's a concern that not all our players will be available for Saturday's game due to an assortment of injuries but it's no train smash," he said.
"We have depth in the team, the technical staff have been trying various other combinations and everything is falling into place.
"Maritzburg have some great players who have been doing well under Gordon Igesund, it will be suicidal for us to underestimate them."
Igesund squashed midweek media reports that he was grounded by food poisoning.
"I saw the two Macufe Cup games that Stars played against Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic, it will be a hell of a tough match," he said.
"We are playing well, the aim is to continue with that incredible display of soccer. We have a good chance in the new competition - three games and it's all over."
Injured Gary Goldstone is the only United player who won't make it to QwaQwa.
Despite the absence of Senokoane and company, Sithole has equally good players like Duncan Lechesa, Jimmy Khauleza and Rueben Cloete to bring a smile to his face.
Igesund will pin his hopes on Fadlu Davids, Sipho Mngomezulu and Tshepo Mashishi to silence the "Red Army" in their own back yard.