Orlando Pirates’ top-two bid in the Premier Soccer League faces a tough challenge when they visit wounded Richards Bay on Saturday.
This battle at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium promises to be a humdinger between sides fighting to finish second on the PSL table.
The Buccaneers are currently third with two points fewer than second-placed SuperSport United, while Richards Bay are sixth on the standings.
With seven games remaining before the league campaign ends, six points separate Pirates and the Natal Rich Boyz.
That gives the KwaZulu-Natal side hope of closing the gap.
This is a crucial match for Pirates who know that dropping points could allow Kaizer Chiefs to jump to third spot, should they get a better result than their Soweto rivals later on the day.
It is also a day Pirates would be hoping for a win and for SuperSport United to fall to Chippa United, a situation that would elevate them to position two.
The permutations make this weekend’s action interesting and dropping a point could shake things up in the top four.
|Game||Richards Bay vs Orlando Pirates|
|Date||Saturday, April 1|
|Time||15:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport TV's PSL channel 202/SABC 1|
Squads & Team NewsBackpagepix
Recent difficult results by Richards Bay prompted the club to make changes to their technical team.
During the Fifa international break, they dismantled the co-coaching set-up by appointing Vasili Manousakisas as the head coach while Pitso Dladla was demoted to the assistant trainer role.
Going into the Pirates match, the Natal Rich Boyz will be without goalkeeper Salim Magoola, who is serving the last match of suspension after being red-carded against Chiefs.
But the club welcome back-back Siyanda Msani who was with the South Africa Under-23 for the 2023 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers.Backpagepix
Pirates welcome back central midfielder Goodman Mosele from injury.
The former Baroka FC linkman has endured a difficult season disturbed by injuries and that has seen Miguel Timm and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo shining in his position which also has Thabang Monare and Ben Motswari.
Pirates coach Jose Riveiro also welcomes back right-back Bandile Shandu from injury but he could see it tough to get back into the team with Thabiso Monyane having also regained full fitness.
Goalkeeper Richards Ofori is also now available for selection since October 2022 and Kermit Erasmus is back as well to give Riveiro more options upfront.
Going into Saturday’s game, Pirates are buoyed by winning their last two league matches.
But they are in for a test to show they can be a consistent team by winning again, having struggled for uniform results this season.
They face Richards Bay who have been enduring a difficult run that includes defeats in their last five games.
Having shared spoils in their last two games, they are winless in the last seven matches.
The last meeting between Pirates and Richards Bay ended 0-0 last October.