giants should bounce back

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns let their supporters down when they lost their opening matches of the new year at the weekend but they should save face at home tomorrow.

Pirates host Maritzburg United at Johannesburg Stadium, while Downs welcome basement club Bloemfontein Celtic to Super Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Both matches kick off at 7.30pm.

The Buccaneers and Sundowns are still smarting from 1-0 defeats by defending Premiership champions SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs respectively.

But Pirates should easily regroup against The Team of Choice who are disappointing despite being guided by decorated coach Gordon Igesund who boasts an incomparable championship record in the Premiership.

Igesund won four league titles with different teams but is more concerned about relegation than the championship at United.

Pirates were hoping to collect nine points from their three opening matches at home, but Matsatsantsa had other plans as they triumphed on Saturday.

Rudi Krol's charges will also be at home on Saturday against Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Pirates, whose chances of challenging for the league title are gradually fading, have been boosted by the return from suspension of Dikgang "Terminator" Mabalane.

Mickey Modisane, the Bucs publicist, said yesterday that they were encouraged by Mabalane's return.

Modisane expressed the same confidence when Teko Modise returned last week, but he and the rest of The Ghost were left with long faces on Saturday night.

"We lost on Saturday and we were all saddened by that defeat, but what happened cannot be reversed and we should look forward to our next match," Modisane said.

"Once again, I'm appealing to The Ghost to continue coming in large numbers to root for the players."

The Brazilians welcome back defender Vuyo Mere and departing forward Lerato Chabangu from suspension.

But Mere will find it difficult to unseat Luvhengo Mungomeni, who had a storming game against Amakhosi.

The spotlight will fall on Chabangu, who has signed with the league champions, to see how he will fare if he is given game time by coach Henri Michel tomorrow.