Baroka welcome revamped Pirates

Orlando Pirates will be eager to build on their opening day win when they travel to Polokwane to take on Baroka FC in a second round 2017-18 Absa Premiership fixture at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm.

The Buccaneers got their ship up and running with a narrow 1-0 win over Chippa United on Saturday. Thamsanqa Gabuza silencing the boo-boys with a thunderous header as the Soweto giants claimed all three points.

Back for his second stint in charge of the Sea Robbers, former Uganda National Team coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic was a relieved man as the club got their campaign off to a positive start - especially in aftermath of what was a forgettable campaign.

The Serbian mentor will take confidence of the fact that Bakgaga struggled at home last season, winning just one of their 15 matches as hosts. For a club that just about avoided the drop in the previous campaign, Baroka will have to do much better on home soil if they are to avoid following the same path.

Kgoloko Thobejane’s troops opened their season with a goalless stalemate away to Limpopo rivals Polokwane City this past weekend.

Predicted Starting 11:

Baroka FC : Vries, Motupa, Kgoetyane, Shaku, Banda, Macha, Chawapihwa, Masenamela, Mdatsane, Matloga , Madubanya

Orlando Pirates: Sandilands, Shitolo, Nyauza, Matlaba, Maela, Mobara, Sangweni, Makola , Qalinge, Nyatama, , Gabuza


What the teams are saying:

Baroka FC head coach Kgoloko Thobejane:

“It was not good for the fans [in reference to their match vs Polokwane City]. People came in numbers to support the Limpopo derby, but with 0-0 I don’t think they will accept it.”

“It was a good derby game, but it was disappointing because we did not manage to score. In our last derby we played 0-0 and today it’s 0-0 again, but the chances were there on both sides and we could not capitalise on that.”

Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic:

"There are things to correct. It's unacceptable how we struggled with certain aspects in the transition, but we will work for it.”

"It was a good start, I would like to thank my technical team with all the work going into this weekend’s game."

"I give credit to the players, they really did what we needed. They need to always respect this badge, the fans, the history."

"I also want to warn the players, the win [vs Chippa] means nothing because we have bigger targets over the next five games."

“We gain confidence by winning, not by talking. And we need to keep winning to build it."

Key players for Baroka FC:

Former Maritzburg United goalkeeper Virgil Vries was prefered to Oscarine Masuluke in goal for their clash over the past weekend, and it will be interesting to see if the Namibia international starts between the sticks on Tuesday evening.

Masuluke scored arguably the best goal in PSL history in the corresponding fixture against Pirates last season, and it will be interesting to see if Thobejane is tempted to recall the burly goal-minder for the clash. Especially considering Gabuza will most likely start up front for the visitors.

Furthermore, on-loan midfielder Gift Motupa will be eager to show his worth against his parent club with the skillful midfielder set to be integral to Bakgaga’s cause this season.

Key player for Orlando Pirates:

Following Tendai Ndoro’s exploits in the early months of last season, Gabuza fell behind in the pecking order - but still proved a valuable asset off the bench while also starring in call-ups for Bafana Bafana. In a love hate relationship with the Bucs faithful - like most Pirates strikers - Gabuza will be desperate to rise to the occasion this season.

Having scored on the opening weekend of the campaign, he will now be looking to make it two from two. The man who set up Gabuza for his goal - Innocent Maela - could prove a coup for the Soweto giants and following his man-of-the-match performance last time out, he will be aiming to show that he is no one game wonder.

Moreover, in Abbubaker Mobara Pirates have found a leader and consistent performer that could go some way in solving their defensive qualms. Successive clean sheets will be a rarity the Pirates fans welcome with open arms.