Fatigue blows Buccaneers off course

THEIR start to the season made their rivals green with envy, but after failing to win their last three matches Orlando Pirates seem to be losing the plot.

THEIR start to the season made their rivals green with envy, but after failing to win their last three matches Orlando Pirates seem to be losing the plot.

Brushing opposition aside with relative ease, the Buccaneers had their multitudes of fans bragging that "it's our time".

No one could blame them: after all this was a team that finished second on the league with 55 points, the same as champions SuperSport United, losing out only on goal difference.

Their scintillating start to the season suggested that Pirates wanted to make up for last season's disappointment and they did that in fine form.

Then came their match on September 26 against second-placed Bidvest Wits, who, just like Pirates, had also not lost a league match. The match ended in a 1-all draw, followed by a goalless draw away to Free State Stars a week later and Saturday night's defeat to Santos at Orlando stadium.

Rivals fans are already sniggering at Pirates' first defeat of the season and rival clubs will surely feel that Bucs are not invincible after all.

Bucs communication manager Mickey Modisane has issued a warning to those who have already written them off, saying they will live to regret it: "Anyone saying we are already out of the league will be astonished, because we have a big surprise for them come the end of the season. We were just unlucky to lose against Santos and considering the number of chances we created, we should have scored four goals . but we will soon bounce back."

Modisane also blamed their defeat on fatigue among key players.

"Most of our players play for the national team and truth be told, they have been playing non-stop and that obviously took its toll on them.

"It is up to the coach and his technical team to decide if the players are good to play, and hopefully they have had enough rest to face SuperSport United (tomorrow).

"But players like Lebohang Mothibantwa and Ndumiso Mabena and others who have not been playing must push for a place in the starting 11."

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