Both Chiefs and Pirates could have some of their top performers on the bench for their Carling Black Label Cup match on July 26
By Ernest Makhaya
With less than three weeks to the fourth edition of the Carling Black Label Cup game between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, some of the star players from these two giants of Soweto are still finding it extremely hard to break into the starting line-ups.
Lennox Bacela is nowhere close to his fellow strikers Lehlohonolo Majoro and Kermit Erasmus, despite finishing as the club top goalscorer with 14 goals in all competitions last season.
This is the second year running that the former Bloem Celtic forward had struggled to win his Bucs fans to vote for him. Last year, Bacela had to be introduced in the second half, replacing Collins Mbesuma who has since left the club.
Could this be a sign that Pirates fans are still not convinced that Bacela is the right man to lead their front line for the upcoming season? That can only be concluded mid-way through the season.
Fatau Dauda is another high-profile player that is likely to watch from the sidelines on the day. His heroics in the Fifa World Cup against both Germany and Portugal have not helped him overtake Senzo Meyiwa, who has emerged as a fan favourite for this year's edition.
On the other hand, Kaizer Chiefs supporters remain hopeful that Knowledge Musona will return to Naturena for another season, as they continue to vote for him.
The 'Smiling Assassin' has gone back to his parent club TSG Hoffenheim and the Bundesliga outfit is unlikely to keep him. They're reportedly willing to offload him permanently.
He's the striker with most votes and among the most voted players so far, together with the likes of Itumeleng Khune. Musona's future is expected to be known in the upcoming weeks.
Morgan Gould could also find himself on the substitutes bench for the second successive season, with AmaKhosi fans showing faith in Eric Mathoho and Tefu Mashamaite at the back.
Gould, one of AmaKhosi's marquee signings two seasons ago, had an average season last season, and this could have led to his fans opting against including him in the starting line-up.
Willard Katsande, who walked away with most of the awards during Chiefs' end of season function last season, is also missing in the starting eleven.
He scored the all-important goal that earned Stuart Baxter's side bragging rights in the second half of the season, and was among the top performers in the entire league last season.
However, it appears that the AmaKhosi fans have lost interest in him and he's now on the brink of losing his place to George Maluleka, who was signed from SuperSport United in January.