Orlando Pirates aim to avoid Nedbank Cup upset

Orlando Pirates will be out to avoid an upset when they host Uthongathi FC in a Nedbank Cup last-32 clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 3pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Buccaneers have already claimed silverware in the 2020-21 season following their success in the MTN8 and will be hoping for a return to winning ways, after their 2-0 league loss away to Golden Arrows earlier this week.

Pirates captain Happy Jele is eager for the Soweto giants to show more consistency and has come out in defence of head coach Josef Zinnbauer.

“It is very difficult to play a team you don’t know, but we can’t decide who we play and just have to prepare very well. Everybody is working hard so that we can play on the weekend. We want to win the Nedbank Cup this year,” Jele said.

“Each and every game we want to play well as a team, but in some of the games we lose because of a lack of concentration at times. We need more effort and consistency to try to win as many games as possible.

"We can’t afford to lose games like we did on Tuesday. We have to work as a team and improve. When we won our previous trophy in the MTN8, we need that spirit again.”

The veteran defender added: "Each and every coach comes with his own philosophy and we have to adapt to that. So far the coach has done well, we won a trophy under him.

"Things have gone wrong in terms of the Premiership, but the only thing we need is consistency. All-in-all we have been playing well, the effort is there. The coach is there to help us fix those mistakes and keep on going.”

Uthongathi head coach Pitso Dladla will also be eager to lead his side back to winning ways after their 1-0 loss away to JDR Stars in the GladAfrica Championship last weekend.

The Cane Cutters beat Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the preliminary round last season before losing 2-0 to Highlands Park in a last-32 match-up. Pirates also suffered elimination at the same stage following a dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Bidvest Wits.

Pirates are two-time Nedbank Cup champions but haven't won the tournament since beating the Clever Boys 3-1 in the 2014 final. That victory was preceded by triumph in the 2011 tournament which completed a historic treble that season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando Pirates

Fortune Makaringe: An increasingly important figure in the Pirates team, Makaringe has started 19 of the club's 22 matches across all competitions this season. While Zinnbauer has continuously tweaked his team, there always seems to be a place for the versatile midfielder who has all the attributes to unlock even the most resolute of defensive set-ups.

Deon Hotto: Like Makaringe, Hotto has featured prominently for Pirates this season and having played such a huge role in their Nedbank Cup downfall last season while still on the books of Bidvest Wits, the Namibian winger will be hoping to be the man that leads the Buccaneers all the way this season.

Uthongathi FC

Tshepo Chaine: Not stranger to the Nedbank Cup, having been part of the TS Galaxy team that famously won the 2019 tournament. Chaine started in their final win over Kaizer Chiefs and will be hoping for more success over a Soweto giant, this time in the colours of Uthongathi FC.

Jean Noel Amonome: The Gabonese shot-stopper has established himself as the club's first choice this season. In all likelihood, he will be a busy man on Saturday but if he can pull off a few fine saves to frustrate the hosts, Uthongathi FC could gain the required confidence to cause a Nedbank Cup upset.