khoza and Tso make up

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Irvin Khoza's words of goodwill and blessing will tomorrow inspire Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi as he faces off against Orlando Pirates.

Kickoff is at 7.30pm at Super Stadium.

There was a mini-storm and recriminations when Vilakazi joined Mamelodi Sundowns on his return from Aalborg of Denmark, and the player has since not played with the vigour and freedom he is known for.

And when "Tso" chose Patrice Motsepe's outfit over his "father" Khoza' s team some die-hard Bucs fans went as far as to threaten retribution against the little maestro. But has now Vilakazi assured everyone all that is water under the bridge.

This is after he and Khoza had a father-son talk.

"He sat me down and told me that he loves it when I play and that he wishes me the best. Mr Khoza is family and will always be that, and I have had to separate my work from that. He understands," Vilakazi said yesterday at the team's training facility in Chloorkop.

Vilakazi and his comrades are raring to stop a rampant Buccaneers side that has flattened everyone in their path to win four consecutive league matches, a feat no other club has managed this season.

One other Brazilian expected to wreak havoc on Pirates is Katlego Mphela, a lethal striker who during all his time in the Premiership with SuperSport United, has never scored against Bucs.

Sporting a long scar on his head courtesy of a kick from a Cameroon defender, Mphela said he relished a chance to rectify that statistic tomorrow.

"It's strange, but it has never happened. I have scored against a lot of teams in the Premiership and elsewhere, but never against Pirates," Mphela said.

With Dario Monteiro a doubtful starter, he just might be Downs' only hope.

For his part, coach Henri Michel claimed to have heard about the rivalry between the big three, and has therefore prepared accordingly.

"Anyone who does not know about Sundowns and Pirates' rivalry knows nothing about South African soccer," said Michel.