Pirates star Mabasa set for a starting role in the Soweto Derby against Chiefs

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates celebrates scoring a goal with teammates during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Enyimba at Orlando Stadium on March 17, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates celebrates scoring a goal with teammates during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Enyimba at Orlando Stadium on March 17, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has hinted that returning striker Tshegofatso Mabasa may get a starting role in the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday.

Mabasa‚ who scored the last-gasp goal that helped Pirates to a 2-1 win against Nigeria side Enyimba in the Caf Confederation Cup on Wednesday‚ is being reintegrated back into the team after a long injury lay-off.

The player has featured in cameo roles in matches against Enyimba and ES Setif in the Confederation Cup‚ and against Chippa United and Bloemfontein Celtic in the domestic league.

“Now we have about three days and maybe it is possible for him to start against Chiefs‚’ said Zinnbauer.

“We will have to see what has happened to all the players who played the match against Enyimba‚ but we need him back and he is not the only one. We have a lot of attacking players who have been out of action but I am happy when a player comes back from injury and they score.

"The problem is always around conditioning because you need minutes in the legs and you saw it was not possible for him to start against Enyimba.”

Though there is a strong possibility for Mabasa to play against Chiefs‚ Zinnbauer cast doubt on the availability of first-choice goalkeeper Richard Ofori who got injured against ES Setif.

“I don’t know 100 percent about the availability of Ofori but we will get the information from the second scan. I think it’s not easy for him to play at the weekend.”

If Ofori is ruled out‚ Zinnbauer will have to choose between Siyabonga Mpontshane‚ who was in goal against Enyimba‚ and Wayne Sandilands.

Asked to reflect on the vital win over Enyimba‚ Zinnbauer said they should have scored more goals despite the fact that the pitch was slippery due to rain.

“It was not easy in the second half because of the rain‚ but both teams played on the same field. You cannot make the excuse that it was slippery or whatever‚ but you must find solutions in the final third. We got into those dangerous areas at times but we did not have the right final shot.

“Kabelo Dlamini had a good chance but their goalkeeper made a top save and in the second half we had three to four more chances from set-pieces or corner kicks‚ but we did not score. The weather cannot be used as an excuse but you have to score.”