Orlando Pirates have a chance to make up for their Telkom Knockout final loss as they embark on their journey in the Nedbank Cup this weekend. However, their first task in the round of 32 is against a stubborn Black Leopards side away in Thohoyandou.
On paper, the Buccaneers go into the match as favourites, but their opponents are no walkovers, especially in front of their home crowd.
This week, former Moroka Swallows striker Shaun Haschick gives us his predictions on this encounter and more!
Match of the Week
Black Leopards v Orlando Pirates (Nedbank Cup)
Match 3 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: Black Leopards 11th & Orlando Pirates 2nd
Useful facts: The last time the two sides met, in a league encounter in August last year, Orlando Pirates emerged 2-1 victors. But there is a feeling the Buccaneers will have to dig deeper to get a positive result in Thohoyandou, especially since Dylan Kerr seems to have breathed new life into Lidoda Duvha. So-called smaller sides’ players tend to see cup competitions as a platform to market themselves to the bigger teams and it will be no different in this one. With the Soweto giants competing on different fronts, Milutin Sredojevic may opt to throw in some of the fringe players, a move that could pay dividends or backfire. The home side will know that the pressure will be on the visitors, and the 12th man could prove to be the difference in the evening. Man of the moment Mwape Musonda will be looking to cause the Bucs defence all sorts of problems and will have a point to prove against his former club. If left unchecked, he could do untold damage. This game promises to be as entertaining as the league encounter between the two teams, where Thamsanqa Gabuza threw his playing jersey at the fans in frustration!
Shaun Haschick: Orlando Pirates win
Chippa United v Mamelodi Sundowns (Nedbank Cup)
Match 1 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: Chippa United 15th & Mamelodi Sundowns 3rd
Useful facts: A well-attended Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium always provides a great atmosphere for the game, and both sides will be buoyed by the presence of the fans in their numbers at the 2010 World Cup venue. Chippa United’s morale will have been boosted by the 2-0 win over Maritzburg United over the weekend, although it remains to be seen how they will be approaching this game since it is a cup fixture. Although playing away, Mamelodi Sundowns are favourites to progress to the next round, due to the quality in their squad and ability to manage the game, especially when they are in the ascendancy. If Pitso Mosimane’s charges score first, it is difficult to see how the Chilli Boys will manage to come back. The positive is that the players will want to continue impressing new man in charge, Clinton Larsen, in order to retain a spot in the starting line-up, so it could be a long day in the office for the defending league champions.
Shaun Haschick: Mamelodi Sundowns win
Cape Town City v SuperSport United (Nedbank Cup)
Match 4 Soccer 6 Pool 26 January S6 V2 P1
League Rankings: Cape Town City 4th & SuperSport United 8th
Useful facts: This is one of the most eagerly awaited matches of the round! SuperSport United’s loss to Cape Town City in the final of the MTN8 is still fresh in their memory and, whether they would like to openly admit it or not, revenge will be one thing on their minds as they travel to the Mother City. But in the Citizens, they will not find a team waiting to give them the win on a silver platter. Having beaten Free State Stars 5-0 in their last league match, the confidence is sky high in the camp of Benni McCarthy’s side and Matsatsantsa a Pitori will need to tread with caution. The coaches will feel the pressure on both sides, as these are two teams with big ambitions and a loss for any of them will make the post-match meeting with the bosses an awkward one. City are becoming harder and harder to beat in their home ground with each passing game, but in a cup game, anything is possible.
Shaun Haschick: Cape Town City win