Pirates aim to build on impressive record against Chippa

Chippa United will target an upset win over Orlando Pirates when they meet in a 2021/22 DStv Premiership match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Chippa suffered their first defeat of the season in their last outing, going down 1-0 away to Royal AM at the Chatsworth Stadium on September 12.

The Chilli Boys’ only previous home match this season saw them hold champions Mamelodi Sundowns 0-0 in the second round of the 2021/22 campaign.

“We didn’t play too well [verus Royal AM], especially the first half but we were really good in the second. The penalty decision was really harsh, but that is football for you. We definitely deserved a point there, but we need to start it again and go again,” said Chippa head coach Gavin Hunt.

“Every game gives you different scenarios and we will try and go again. The mentality is the most important thing we need to work on,” he added.

Pirates will go into this match on the back of claiming their first win in the league this season, with Tshegofatso Mabasa’s goal helping them beat Swallows FC 1-0 at home on September 11.

The Buccaneers’ only previous away game thus far saw them held 0-0 at Marumo Gallants in August.

“In every match you play you have that pressure as a coach. We know that we needed the three points but more importantly, we needed a performance,” said Pirates co-caretaker coach Fadlu Davids.

“It is a process in terms of where the squad is. You lose a coach, and you have to look at what was good in the past and other things to improve on.

“We are in the process of trying to fix the team and most important is the performance. If we can perform this way, with more fluidity in our attack, more domination from start to finish and be able to do it for a certain period, that would be good.

“We are looking at the bigger picture. The results give you that extra boost, that momentum to go into the next game,” he added.

In head-to-head stats, Chippa and Pirates have met in 16 league matches since 2012/13. The Buccaneers have claimed 12 wins compared to three for the Chilli Boys, while just one game has been drawn. The Eastern Cape side has won two of eight home matches in the rivalry, suffering five defeats in the process.

Pirates completed a league ‘double’ over Chippa last season, winning 1-0 at Orlando Stadium in December 2020 (with a goal from Fortune Makaringe) and 3-0 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in March 2021 (with strikes from Deon Hotto and Ben Motshwari sandwiching an own goal from Riaan Hanamub).

Pirates are on an 11-game winning run against the Chilli Boys in all competitions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH – CHIPPA UNITED

Roscoe Pietersen: The ball-playing centre-back has made a solid return to top-flight football following a few years playing in the GladAfrica Championship. Pietersen has played every minute for the Chilli Boys so far this season and has been intergral to them having yet to concede a goal from open play after three matches.

Phakamani Mahlambi: If there is one player that’s failed to live up to his potential over the last few seasons it is Mahlambi. The speedy forward had the world at his feet following a move to African giants Al Ahly in 2017 but things haven’t quite worked out for him since. Mahlambi played his best football under Hunt at the now defunct Bidvest Wits and there is hope that the experienced coach will help the talented forward regain that sort of form.

PLAYERS TO WATCH – ORLANDO PIRATES

Tshegofatso Mabasa: Time and time again Mabasa has come up with the good for Pirates off the bench and he will be pushing hard for a starting berth this weekend. Mabasa scored eight goals in 19 matches across all competitions last season, but injury has meant that he’s been unable to get a substantial run in the starting eleven.

Happy Jele: A man-of-the-match performance in his 400th appearance for Pirates underlined Jele’s continued importance to a Bucs backline that has had its problems over the past few seasons. There is no replacement for experience and Jele will continue to play an important role for the Soweto giants.

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