The Citizen (KZN)



- Tshepo Ntsoelengo­e

Fresh from comprehens­ively sealing a spot in the last eight of the Nedbank Cup, Orlando Pirates will be looking to take their outstandin­g form against Free State Stars into the league as they host Maritzburg United at the Orlando Stadium tonight.

The Soweto giants’ 4-1 mauling of Stars on Saturday was their second victory of the year, but both have come in the Cup – they have not won any of their last 12 league matches and are dangerousl­y close to the relegation zone.

With the Buccaneers having played their last three matches away from home, coach Kjell Jonevret is happy to play on home soil this evening and hopes to have all his players who played in the Ea Lla Koto game well-rested for United, or he said he might be forced to make a couple of changes.

“It is going to be tough for us, we only had two days to rest with a very important game against Maritzburg at home. But it will be fun to play at home again. It has been a while since we played at home,” Jonevret told reporters after the Stars game.

“We have about 18 players with the same quality ... against Maritzburg, we need 11 fresh players out there with fresh legs, we can’t go out there with tired legs. So we have to wait and hear from the medical team,” he added.

“Since the time I arrived here, I did mention that they are a talented bunch of players, they just needed some confidence. Maybe games like this one will help, hopefully.”

Bucs are in 12th place on the league standings with 23 points after 21 games, just five points ahead of the league’s bottom side Baroka FC, while the Team of Choice are in eighth place with 26 points from 22 matches.

The KwaZulu-Natal outfit returned to winning ways on April 1 under interim coach Fadlu Davids, beating Ajax Cape Town 2-1 at home, a fine reaction following the resignatio­n of Roger de Sa as head coach.

Now going up against Pirates, Davids says he is not fooled by Bucs’ position.

“What is important for us is to keep producing good performanc­es, results will take care of themselves,” Davids told the club website.

“They (Pirates) are a good team and have fantastic individual players.

“I have watched their games since the new coach arrived, they are well structured, and we cannot be fooled by their league position. We will give them the respect they deserve.”

Pirates are a good team and have fantastic individual players.

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 ?? Picture: Backpagepi­x ?? KJELL JONEVRET
Picture: Backpagepi­x KJELL JONEVRET

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