Pirates coach has an embarrassment of riches after players returned from injury to come into contention for Saturday’s key derby
Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa says he is pleased to have something of a selection headaches as he prepares for Saturday’s Soweto derby after the midweek return of Benni McCarthy and Happy Jele.
McCarthy played for the first time since his hamstring injury in September in the 0-0 draw with Chippa United at the Athlone Stadium while Happy Jele made his first start in the line-up in more than a year and completed the full 90 minutes at right back in the same match.
The pair were among five changes in the Pirates line-up as the club started without suspended Siyabonga Sangweni and Sifiso Myeni.
It means De Sa must make some tough choices in deciding his line-up for the match against league leaders Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City.
His main choice will be upfront where he must decide whether to field McCarthy as his lead striker or play the Zambia international Collins Mbesuma.
De Sa said he was pleased the 35-year-old McCarthy had come through more than an hour of football against Chippa United although admitted he did not leave a favourable impression.
“He wasn’t anything close to his top form and he will draw confidence that his injury is now something of the past. It is difficult for any player to come back after a three month layoff. It’s also a mental thing,” said the coach
“But he has to get back sometime and if not against Chippa, then against Chiefs. I was quite happy he played a full hour but he is obviously not match sharp.”
McCarthy was replaced by Mbesuma, whose three goals for Pirates is the joint top individual tally this season along with Sifiso Myeni.