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‘I am not thinking about Chiefs‚’ says Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena

Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Rulani Mokwena is yet to win over the hearts of soul of the club's supporters.
Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Rulani Mokwena is yet to win over the hearts of soul of the club's supporters.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena will only start working on the planning and tactics for their two marquee clashes against arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs after the match against Highlands Park.

Tenth-placed Buccaneers visit on Highlands Park on Tuesday night at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa under pressure to get three points and improve their position on the Absa Premiership standings.

Faced with this must-win situation‚ the beleaguered Bucs boss insisted that he has not entertained any thoughts of the Soweto derby that will be played in successive weekends.

“I am not even thinking about Chiefs‚ I have Highlands Park next‚” he said.

“You saw how difficult it was for Sundowns to beat Highlands. They are a hard-running team and very good at dead-ball situations. And they are a difficult team with lots of good players such as Peter Shalulile up front‚ Lindokuhle Mbatha in the midfield‚ they have plenty of pace. That is our most important game at the moment‚ not Chiefs‚” he said.

Pirates have a chance to move into the top eight after being dumped down to 10th place on the standings after losing 1-0 at Stellenbosch FC on Saturday in Cape Town to pile pressure Mokwena.

If they win at the sell-out Makhulong‚ the Buccaneers will join seventh placed SuperSport United on 12 points.

On the other hand‚ victory for Highlands‚ who have already beaten Pirates this season in the MTN8 tournament‚ will take them above champions Mamelodi Sundowns and into second spot.

“I live day by day‚ I love my work‚ I love going to work in the morning and working with the players‚” added Mokoena.

“I focus on that‚ I’m not even thinking about Kaizer Chiefs and the back-to-back derbies and I’m being honest with you. My 100 percent focus is on Highlands Park.”

Pirates play Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout quarter-final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday and then seven days later in the league at Soccer City.