MATCH ANALYSIS: Chippa v Pirates

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The Chippa v Pirates fixture in the ABSA Premiership Round 21, presents an intriguing contest of 2 football teams with contrasting fortunes since the turn of the year.

The Chilli Boys meet the Buccaneers at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this evening (18:00).

Chippa has embraced the tactical ramifications outlined by Norman Mapeza, notching impressive wins against AmaZulu and Cape Town City on the road.

The team has also observed the technical resurgence of both Thabo Rakhale and William Twala with clear proficiency in their talent application.


On the other hand Pirates under the new coach Josef Zinnbauer have been nothing but impressive in their tactical conduct whilst displaying efficiency, brutality and technical fluidity in their playing style and the re-emergence of the front 3 of Luvuyo Memela, Thembinkosi Lorch and on-fire Gabadinho Mhango has mesmerized all in their path recently.This battle promises a shrewd high voltage tactical output fuelled by various factors that will have all in attendance sitting on the edge of their seats.We look at the various factors that could swing the tie on its head, including the key role players and what the form guide suggests:

  1. Tactical structures and their implications
Norman Mapeza has guided the Chilli Boys well.

Chippa have been steady and structured in their game model with Mapeza opting to balance his attack impetus with a resounding rigid defensive framework.

The Eastern Cape side has relied on a conventional 1-4-2-3-1 offensive system with 2 central midfielders, Xolani Maholo and Meshack Maphangule providing both a defensive base and a swift attacking platform that allows the trio of Twala, Rakhale and Silas Phumlani Maziya the correct freedom to attack at will.

Fig 1: Chippa Attacking Formation

As for Pirates the tactical metamorphosis is apparent for all to behold. The team under JZ looks fresh, structured and highly mobile to exploit the guile and natural speed associated with this group of players.

At the beginning of 2020, the team faced a tricky away fixture at Bloemfontein Celtic, and even though Celtic dominated the possession stakes the spoils were shared, but a completely new Pirates team emerged on the day. The team exhibited toughness, resilience, structure and maturity to lay a fruitful platform for a silent rise above the log.

JZ has tweaked his 2 attack formations 1-4-4-1-1 and 1-3-4-3 in matches against Polokwane City, Highlands Park and AmaZulu with incredible ease and perfection. Both systems allow Memela to encroach freely between the lines and combine with Mhango effortlessly but with devastating effect as witnessed against the champions Mamelodi Sundowns recently, a game Pirates won 1-0.

Both Pule and Lorch are allowed to play in and out of the wing situations and Ben Motshwari and Fortune Makaringe have solidified the midfield shield in front of a defense line that has improved with every game.

  1. Mhango v Twala

On the current goal scoring happenings in the league, this comparison could be viewed as a mismatch.

Twala has only scored 4 goals in 18 league matches this season and Mhango has delivered 12 goals in 17 league matches for the Buccaneers.

The Chippa winger’s goals has contributed immensely for a survival driven Chippa, 4/13 goals account for 31% scoring percentage and the fact that he operates mainly on the wing portion these stats are quite significant.

He remains deadly in 1v1 attack play, can change his running patterns and tactically cheats in the defensive transition, a feature that could be detrimental to the ever-overlapping Pirates fullbacks.

As for Mhango, the Malawian goal-machine has been absolutely phenomenal with 12/17 a total of 71% scoring percentage and topping the PSL scoring table.

“Gabadinho” has mesmerized the league’s top defenders in both the attacking and defensive phases of the game. In the opposition build up phases ( 1st and 2nd stanza) he has applied tremendous high frontal and provocative pressing to limit their time on the ball, close the possible passing lanes and forced them to hurry their forward passing.


In the attack phase Mhango has utilized his speed, technical sharpness and tactical understanding to position himself in and around the box and delivered crunching blows to sloppy and unstructured defenses. His mobility with or without the ball has been top class but it’s his finishing that has engulfed the football enthusiasts discussion forums and peddled him to within a whisker of the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot for 2019/20 season.

  1. What the Form Book reveals

Chippa are 12th on the log and in their last 5 matches they have lost 2, drawn 2 and won 1.

The “Chilli Boys” goals per game ratio is 0,6 and goals scored against ratio is 0,9 with a clean sheet percentage of 45%.

The “Buccaneers” occupy 4th spot on the log and in their last 5 matches they have drawn 1 and won 4.

Pirates goals per game ratio is 1,6 and goals scored against ratio is 1,25 with a clean sheet percentage of 30%. In a nutshell Pirates scored more goals but concede as well, whereas Chippa conceded fewer goals but scored less too.

4. Conclusion

The occasion is set for a pulsating match of football in the “Windy City” and with the “Chilli Boys” celebrating a 10th Anniversary and the form book suggesting otherwise, expect a tactically precarious encounter with key individuals actors ready to deliver a befitting spectacle as instructed by both Mapeza and JZ with the clear parameters outlined.

By FARPost Reporters

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