It is dubbed the Original Soweto Derby as the Buccaneers and their neighbours have a lot to play for in this potentially explosive confrontation
Orlando Pirates will be pushing to settle for second spot on the Premier Soccer League table when they visit Swallows FC for Saturday’s clash at Dobsonville Stadium.
Currently placed fourth on the standings with 38 points, a three-goal margin victory by Pirates will see them come just behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in the event second-placed AmaZulu lose to TS Galaxy on the same evening. To stay second, the Buccaneers would also pray that Golden Arrows also lose to Chippa United on Sunday.
Just a point separates Pirates and Swallows who are fifth on the standings.
The Dube birds also have much at stake as they seek to return to the top three for a chance to play in Africa next season but a win on Saturday will only guarantee them fourth place.
|Game||Swallows vs Orlando Pirates|
|Date||Saturday, April 24|
|Time||17:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202|
Squads & Team News
Swallows have no suspended player for this encounter.
Coach Brandon Truter will be praying that all his key players are fit for this game of high magnitude.
The Birds tactician would also want to see Ruzaigh Gamildien, who is second on the PSL scorers chart with 11 goals, return to his scoring form having last found the back of the net on March 20.
Pirates will be without suspended winger Kabelo Dlamini who accumulated his fourth yellow card in their last league game against Maritzburg United.
What could be more worrying for the Buccaneers is their goalkeeping department where Wayne Sandilands is the only confirmed fit player.
Siyabonga Mpontshane sustained an injury on Wednesday against ES Setif, a match he lasted just 24 minutes and Richard Ofori has been battling with fitness since March.
If the two unfit goalkeepers do not recover on time, coach Josef Zinnbauer will be forced to have reserve team gloveman Elson Sithole deputise for Sandilands.
After the Caf Confederation Cup match against ES Setif on Wednesday, Zinnbauer hinted at defender Innocent Maela returning, having missed the last five games in all competitions due to injury.
But Thembinkosi Lorch is still out as well as Zakhele Lepasa and DR Congo forward Jean-Marc Makusu, a situation that leaves the coach with only Frank Mhango and Tshegofatso Mabaso as the only available strikers.
The reverse fixture between these Soweto sides ended 1-1 in January when Swallows grabbed a stoppage time equaliser through Kamohelo Mahlatsi after Ben Motshwari had thrust Pirates into the lead.
Pirates go into this match keen to preserve their Soweto reputation after recently losing 1-0 to old foes Kaizer Chiefs in a league match.
It was their only PSL defeat in the last five games in which they have also recorded three wins and a draw.
As for Swallows, their progress has been undone by a string of draws after starting the season on a high.
The Dube Birds have shared the spoils on four occasions in their last five games in which they have managed just one win.
But with both sides having avoided defeat in their last league matches, that could be the tonic they needed going into Saturday’s Original Soweto Derby.