Marumo Gallants head coach Dan Malesela has some points to prove against Orlando Pirates at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday night.
Job on the line?
Gallants have been plummeting down the table and in a league notorious for job instability, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Malesela’s head is on the block, should he fail to turn things around.
A widely respected an experienced coach, Malesela will be upset by his side’s form and will be eyeing the Pirates fixture – knowing it won’t be hard to motivate his men against the Soweto giants - as a way of making a statement with a win.
Victory would be just the shot of confidence the bottom-of-the-table team are needing so badly and Malesela will have his men fired up and ready to launch into battle.
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Whenever there’s a vacancy in the Pirates head coach role, so it seems, Malesela is among those mentioned with the position.
So in some respects, every time he plays the Buccaneers, the ex-Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns defender is effectively undergoing a job interview.
It won’t hurt his cause if he can mastermind a shock win for Gallants.
A record to improve
In three previous matches with Gallants against Pirates, Malesela has lost both, although his Gallants side did manage a penalty shoot-out win over the Sea Robbers in the Nedbank Cup.
Overall in his PSL career, Malesela has won only two of eight matches against Pirates, which will make him hungry to improve on that record.
In terms of average points per game against all PSL opponents, Malesela’s record against Pirates – just 0.75 points per game, is his third worst, after Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits.
He’ll be desperate to set some records straight and against the wily old campaigner, Pirates will need to make sure they’re properly focussed and don’t let any complacency creep in.
After some good recent results, now is the time for Pirates to show that they have the consistency and determination to keep on grinding out wins; they can’t afford to slip back into old ways again.