'We've done our homework on Kaizer Chiefs'‚ says Orlando Pirates skipper Happy Jele
Orlando Pirates skipper Happy Jele has challenged his teammates to maintain their seven-match unbeaten run in the league this season when they host Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Jele‚ a veteran of over 20 derbies in a black and white Pirates jersey‚ is confident that the Bucs have the ability to avoid defeat against their rivals who last beat them in the league in 2014 through goals from Siphiwe Tshabalala and Siphelele Mthembu in a 2-0 loss.
Since then the Buccaneers have managed to draw five Absa Premiership league matches against Chiefs while winning two with a 3-1 scoreline‚ including the last clash in March which they won courtesy of Luvuyo Memela’s second half brace.
“For us it’s very important to focus on our strengths‚” said Jele‚ who joined Pirates as a 19-year-old in 2006.
“We don’t want to buy the talk that Chiefs are the underdogs simply because of our previous league results against them.
“I can’t say much about Chiefs but there’s a lot of homework that we’ve done on their current team which is different to the one we beat 3-1 when we last met in March.
“The guys are motivated and you can’t motivate them more when they are going to play in the derby.
“So for us it is just to implement what we’ve been doing at training.”
Jele also had a simple message for the new Pirates players who could make their debuts in the derby on Saturday.
“The guys that are young and new in the team like Vincent Pule and Ben Motshwari must just take it easy in the derby‚” said Jele.
“All that I have to do as a senior guy is to motivate and calm them down because this game can be very intimidating to those who’s never played in front of over 80,000 people.
“I want them to play their normal game because this is going to be a very tactical game.”
Jele admitted that the Soweto Derby is so intimidating that if you make a huge mistake it can have a long-term effect in your game and confidence as a player.
“It’s true that the derby can make or break one’s career. There are a lot of people watching and it’s up to you as a player to do your best on the day.”
But the best that Jele can hope for from his teammates on Saturday is another victory to maintain second place on the log.
Pirates have been struggling with consistency in the league with their last two matches against Lamontville Golden Arrows at home and AmaZulu FC away ending in 0-0 and 1-1 draws respectively.
Pirates last won a league match last month when they defeated Baroka FC in Polokwane with the club’s leading scorer Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch getting the goals in a 2-1 victory.