Davids identifies Orlando Pirates' stumbling block against Stellenbosch

Fadlu Davids, Orlando Pirates, January 2019
The Soweto giants will be at home pressing for their first opportunity to win maximum points this season against their Western Cape visitors

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids says his side’s biggest challenge in Wednesday’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) clash against Stellenbosch will be their opponents’ “well-drilled and organised defensive structure.”

The Buccaneers host Stellenbosch at Orlando Stadium, fresh from being held 1-1 by AmaZulu in their opening league match last Saturday away in Durban.

Pirates struggled to penetrate the AmaZulu defence with their goal coming from a controversial penalty converted by Frank Mhango.

After facing a difficult evening in Durban, Davids is expecting another tricky encounter against Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

“Stellenbosch have always had a well-drilled and organised defensive structure with five players at the back,” Davids told Orlando Pirates media.

“They are aggressive too. They are one of the organised teams defensively so it’s really about us to unlock this defence, to unlock this deep-lying block.”

Expectations on Pirates are very high after they made some big-name signings ahead of the season, including Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshawayo, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Deon Hotto and goalkeeper Richard Ofori.

Davids says the new arrivals are slowly settling in the team as midfielders Dzvukamanja, Hotto and Wayde Jooste have immediately become regular starters.

But the supply of goals has not improved as the Pirates forwards have so far struggled to score.

Two goals in as many matches define their season after Dvukamanja’s strike helped them edge Cape Town City 1-0 in the MTN8 quarter-finals before Mhango’s penalty against Usuthu.

“There are positives to take from the last two games,” Davids said.

“Not the result we wanted in the last match but the new players are beginning to understand. Gelling with their teammates, getting to understand our movements, non-verbal communication between each other, knowing exactly where to be on the pitch, in defence and in attack.

“The fluidity is coming in as we saw in the second half [against AmaZulu]. It is just about the finalising those chances we create to be able to score goals."

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 Victory for Pirates is crucial as it would set the right tone ahead of Saturday’s MTN8 semi-final clash against old foes Kaizer Chiefs.

Chiefs are already geared up for the Soweto derby at Orlando Stadium after they edged Chippa United 1-0 in a PSL match on Tuesday.