Orlando Pirates have been dealt a huge blow in their preparation for the second Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs this coming weekend, with the team set to be without two key players.
After dropping points last night against Maritzburg United in the 0-0 draw at Orlando Stadium, the Buccaneers would have loved to have a full strength team to face Amakhosi, especially after losing the Telkom Knockout clash against the high-flying Naturena outfit last weekend.
However, Rulani Mokwena and his technical team will be without veteran defender Happy Jele, who picked up a red card against the Team of Choice.
Jele has proved to be a vital cog in Bucs’ defence over the years, with the 32-year-old and captain of the side having ammassed a whopping 29 starts in the league last season on his way to helping the side to a second place finish behind Mamelodi Sundowns, and a CAF Champions League qualification.
The last time Jele missed a league match due to suspension was the 1-0 loss against Stellenbosch FC in Cape Town, after accumulating four yellow cards earlier in the season.
With Pirates going into the Chiefs match desperate for points and to fight for their pride, the team will also be without another defender in Mthokozisi Dube.
Dube will sit out his second and last match of his two-match suspension for the red card he received against Chiefs on Saturday.
Pirates have won only three matches out of 10 matches in the Absa Premiership thus far this season, as the pressure continues to mount for Mokwena in his role as the club’s caretaker coach.
Meanwhile, a boost for Pirates is that Thembinkosi Lorch, who missed the Maritzburg match due to suspension, is expected to return for the Chiefs showdown.