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Orlando Pirates defender Justice Chabalala keen to silence doubters against Kaizer Chiefs

11:08 PM GMT+8 26/07/2019
Orlando Pirates, Justice Chabalala
The 27-year-old is eager to prove his doubters wrong after being overlooked by the Bucs technical team last season

Orlando Pirates defender Justice Chabalala has opened up ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2019 CBL Cup clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday

The lanky player failed to make an appearance for the Bucs first team last season, but he is set to start at the heart of the team's defence after receiving over 11,000 votes from fans.

"It's a blessing that the fans voted for me. I have been sitting without playing for too long. I believe that I can give my best shot," Chabalala told the media.

"I trust myself. When you are not playing, you cannot sit down and relax. I have been working very hard."

The Buccaneers have been heavily-linked with Bidvest Wits defender Thulani Hlatshwayo, and his arrival at the Houghton-based side would dent Chabalala's chances of getting game-time in the new season.

However, Chabalala made it clear he is not bothered by the reports, as he remains a good defender despite the lack of game-time at Bucs.

"When God gives you a gift or talent, it's yours nobody can take it away from you, even if you are playing or not playing," he added

"First of all, I don't know if the team really wants him [Hlatshwayo], and I don't want to involve myself in that. I just want to play football."

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy recently revealed are interested in his signature, but the Limpopo-born player is only focused on fighting for his place in the Pirates starting line-up.

"I am an Orlando Pirates player; I will be here as long as the team wants me. I won't say much about speculations, because I don't follow the media, I don't check newspapers... I keep my eyes on football. We have good coaches... They said don't worry, you'll play, one day is going to be one day," he insisted.

"The team was doing well, finishing as runners-up twice. My brothers [Happy] Jele, [Ntsikelelo] Nyauza, [Alfred] Ndengane and [Marshall] Munetsi have been doing very well. So I was waiting for my chance to come and Saturday [tomorrow] I believe it's my chance."

Utility player Munetsi, who was used in central defence by Pirates coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic last season, left the club for French Ligue 1 Stade Reims over a month ago.