Polokwane City hunt for victory
Coach Molekwa is confident
MORBIDLY odd though it might sound, but Polokwane City are a death-defying lot when they play on unfamiliar territories and this track record should send shivers down the spines of Orlando Pirates players and supporters alike.
A sense of déjà vu is on the cards when two sides come face-to-face this Saturday at Orlando Stadium in Soweto for their Absa Premiership second leg date.
Kick-off for this clash is at 20:30 Pirates will go into this game brimming with confidence after comprehensively beating log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in a pulsating league clash on Saturday while City are still nursing their wounds inflicted by Kaizer Chiefs who beat them 2-1.
Against this backdrop, the Limpopo side can still take to field with their tails up after humiliating Pirates with a 4-2 score line during a penalty shootout in the Telkom Knockout Cup on November 4.
The cup game was forced into spot kick after the game ended in a 2-all stalemate.
The last time City and Pirates met was during a four-goal thriller in which Thamsanqa Gabuza grabbed a brace for the Buccaneers, while Rise and Shine’s goals were netted by Rendani Ndou and Rodney Ramagalela.
Over the years, whenever Pirates and City meet, irrespective of the venue, spectators are kept on their toes and this weekend’s fixture will be no exception.
The game itself has all the hallmarks of a swashbuckling razzmatazz.
Playing on their home turf in front of their fanatical home fans, Pirates have over their years enjoyed territorial advantage on this venue while on the other hand, City have proven beyond reasonable doubts that they are free scorers away from Polokwane.
The Sea Robbers return to the same venue where they humiliated Baroka FC with a 3-1 drubbing a fortnight ago.
Towards the end of the first round, Pirates have either been wining or drawing, except for their slender 2-1 loss to Free State Stars.
City’s coach Bernard Molekwa, nonetheless, is upbeat that they will give a good account of themselves, like they usually do on their away assignments.
“We have never been good visitors and our hosts are aware of this factor that we are notorious and have a tendency of spoiling parties” Molekwa joked, as he went on to say, “If this was not football, families would stop inviting us because we are an annoyance.”
On a serious note, Molekwa is not taking their encounter against Pirates lightly, acknowledging that a team with African cup pedigree as the Ghosts deserve great respect.
The black and white brigade who swear by the skull and cross bones insignia have proven their worth in their victory over the Brazilians and whoever takes them for granted will live to regret such complacency.
Molekwa conceded that: “We have a mammoth task to deal with. Pirates are a big team even though in the PSL we are somehow reluctant to acknowledge such existence of big and small clubs. However, it is teams like us wo have systematically broke that myth, effectively brining equality among clubs.”
Molekwa seems less troubled when his charges take on one of the most revered side on the African continent.
He says, like Pirates, they have warrior players who can win any battle even under trying conditions.
Molekwa said, “I have a wellbalanced squad which can deliver good results. My players are familiar with Pirates and know what is expected from them.
“They have been together for a while now and complement each other well.
“Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on one player to score goals. Goal scoring at Rise and Shine has become everyone’ responsibility.”
OTHER WEEKEND FIXTURES Friday
Free State vs Bloemfontein Celtic (Goble Park – 20:00)
Cape Town City vs Ajax Cape Town (Cape Town Stadium – 15:30)
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Platinum Stars (Loftus Versveld Stadium – 18:00.
Orlando Pirates vs Polokwane City (Orlando Stadium – 20:15) AmaZulu FC vs SuperSport United (King Zwelithini Stadium – 20:15)
Baroka FC vs Kaizer Chiefs (Peter Mokaba Stadium – 15:30)