Luck favours Bucs ahead of the derby
As the countdown to the Soweto derby on Saturday begins, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs find themselves having contrasting fortunes with the momentum heading to the clash slightly tilted towards the former.
Over the past few weeks, the Buccaneers have been edging towards full strength with most of their key players returning from injury.
The team has recently welcomed back Musa Nyatama, Luvuyo Memela, Thembinkosi Lorch, Thabiso Kutumela and Brilliant Khuzwayo from injury. The return of the players sets Bucs up nicely to be able to field their best team come derby day.
Their coach, Milutin Sredojevic, expressed excitement about having a full strength side. "There is competition in the team from the new players and those returning from injury," Sredojevic said.
"I can say we have not seen the best of Pirates. The best is still to come."
While spirits are high at the Sea Robbers, at Naturena they have been cursing their recent spate of bad luck.
Their in-form attacking midfielder Lebogang Manyama was involved in a car crash in midweek that will make him miss the derby.
Manyama will be out for up to six week with a fractured elbow, the club has confirmed.
The 28-year-old has been a key cog in the attacking machinery since his arrival in August. Their sensational striker Khama Billiat could also be touch and go after he picked up a back injury while on duty with Zimbabwe.
Amakhosi will be crossing fingers that Billiat is fit for the derby. As a precaution, Billiat could be rested for today's encounter against Black Leopards to preserve his health.
Leonardo Castro has still not fully covered from an ankle injury while Joseph Molangoane remains out until early next year.
"Bad luck please finish," Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas bemoaned. "We are fighting back luck at the moment. First it was Molangoane, then Castro and now Manyama."
He said his team has to get over the Lidoda Duvha hurdle first in the Telkom Knockout.