The Buccaneers’ sensational rebirth under Josef Zinnbauer has seen them being mentioned as serious title contenders
Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids says they will enter the Saturday’s Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs with fresh legs after being inactive last weekend, and stressed that they do not consider themselves as part of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title race.
Pirates were not involved in competitive action last weekend after being knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by Bidvest Wits earlier this month.
They now face a Kaizer Chiefs side fresh from exiting the Nedbank Cup after being knocked out by Highlands Park last Saturday.
Davids said while there can be a slight disadvantage going into the derby following an inactive weekend, they can also draw positives from that brief rest period, which allowed injured players to recover as well energising their squad.
“We wanted to be in the next round of the Nedbank Cup but we have to deal with what have right now,” Davids told the media as per Phakaaathi.
“If you play a friendly before the derby the players are going to give ten percent less because they don’t want to get injured!
“We are at a bit of a disadvantage but we have to get ready for the next match. The advantage … is that some players recover from injury and you get players who are fresher.”
Pirates enter the derby placed third in the PSL standings and six points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs, although they have played a game more.
The December arrival of German coach Josef Zinnbauer sensationally turned around their campaign to leave them within touching distance of the league title after going seven straight league games without defeat.
But Davids has played down Pirates’ chances in the title race which he says is between Kaizer Chiefs, second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns and Wits.
“We are not going into the game relaxing because we have won a couple of games in a row, we approach the game with a new slate, we are not talking about the title race. The title race is for Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits,” Davids added
“Since the coach [Zinnbauer] came we have won six and drawn one out of seven … [but] we are not thinking about the title race, it is the biggest mistake we can make, teams have games in hand on us … to win the next game is the most important for us.”
A win for Pirates will further throw the title race open, considering Sundowns are four points behind Amakhosi, but if Chiefs win, they will stay firmly in control of their lead.