Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena names Maela, Nyauza at centreback in derby

Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates tackled by Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2019 Telkom Knockout quarter final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pietermaritzburg, on 2 November 2019.
Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates tackled by Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2019 Telkom Knockout quarter final match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pietermaritzburg, on 2 November 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena continued his habit of wringing the changes, and surprise by placing left-back Innocent Maela at centreback for Saturday’s Absa Premiership Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs.

Maela will turn out next to Ntsikelelo Nyauza in the centre of defence for Pirates in the second derby in a week.

Nyauza has been playing mostly as a central defender this season, but was converted there from right-back. The two former fullbacks in the centre of Bucs’ defence have pace, though not a tremendous amount  of height, and Chiefs my look to expose this with crosses to a big centre-forward like Leonardo Castro, if he plays.

Bucs’ line-up shows four changes from the one that drew 0-0 in Tuesday’s league match at FNB against Maritzburg United.

One was enforced – centreback Mthokozisi Dube, red-carded against United, is suspended, and replaced by Abel Mabaso.

Paseka Mako comes in at left-back, occupying Maela’s vacated position. Xola Mlambo comes into the central midfield, alongside Ben Motshwari and Fortune Makaringe. Thembinkosi Lorch returns to the attack.

Jele, big striker Tshegofatsho Mabasa and Kabelo Dlamini are the players to make way from Tuesday’s XI.

In all, there are five changes from last Saturday’s penalties defeat to Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal derby at Moses Mabhida Stadium. Two are enforced, as right-back Mthokozisi Dube is also suspended, having been dismissed in Durban.

Mlambo is the only player brought into Saturday’s XI who did not play in either of the past two matches.

Orlando Pirates: (probably 4-3-3) Wayne Sandilands – Abel Mabaso, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Innocent Maela, Paseka Mako – Ben Motshwari, Xola Mlambo, Fortune Makaringe – Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch, Gabadinho Mhango

Substitutes: Siyabonga Mpontshane, Tonic Chabalala, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Linda Mntambo, Tshegofatsho Mabasa, Augustine Mulenga, Justin Shonga

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