Bucs looking for big finish to 2012 as they travel to KwaZulu-Natal, with one eye on Chiefs result against AmaZulu in title race
The Buccaneers’ last two league title triumphs have come after final day wins over Abafana Bes’thende, including in May this year when a Benni McCarthy brace in the second half at the Moses Mabhida Stadium sealed a 4-2 success.
They go into this match with their tails up too, having lost just once under coach Roger de Sa in the 11 matches he has been in charge.
De Sa has brought some structure to Pirates play, with the side having looked disjointed under their previous coaches, Julio Leal and Augusto Palacios, despite the trophies they brought to the club.
There is a solidity now about this group and when firing, they are comfortably the best side in the PSL. They currently trail leaders Kaizer Chiefs by just a single point at the halfway mark of the season.
De Sa has no injury worries to speak of, Moeneeb Josephs continues to struggle with a sore shoulder, but he is the confirmed number two now at the club in any event.
Golden Arrows secured a crucial 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Ajax Cape Town at the weekend which moved them four points clear of the drop zone.
They have now lost just one of their last four games, a run that includes two victories, and the signs of recovery are there for coach Manqoba Mngqithi.
Mngqithi says movement up the table will provide his side with more confidence and then the quality of the side will be seen.
“I think the position we’re in creates added anxiety for the players, which lead to more errors being compared,” he says. “If we had to get out of this area and maybe be challenging for a top eight spot, perhaps the quality of this team will be seen.”
This is the final match of 2012 for these teams before they break for the festive season and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, returning in mid-February.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Pirates have been excellent on the road this season, with five wins, two draws and just one defeat from eight matches.
- In head-to-head stats, Arrows and Pirates have met in 25 league matches since 2000/01. The Buccaneers have claimed 13 wins compared to just four for the Durban side, while eight matches have been drawn.
- Arrows have won three of their 12 home matches against Pirates down the years, suffering five defeats in the process.
- When the teams met earlier this season, Bucs won 2-1 at home thanks to goals from Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Tlou Segolela.