The big test for any team’s title credentials is a fixture against the defending champions.
For Orlando Pirates, that test came last weekend against Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium, and unfortunately for Pirates they did not pass. Two goals from Peter Shalulile were enough to secure the three points for the defending champions.
Pirates have played four games at home in all competitions this season, and won just one – against the struggling Swallows FC. More importantly, they have conceded six goals in those home games.
6 – Pirates have conceded as many goals in four home games this season (6) as they did in the last 14 home games of the previous campaign (6).
They weren’t outclassed either – both goals in the 2-0 defeat came from their own errors. Again. Five of the six goals conceded at home have come from some sort of defending error.
In the MTN8 quarterfinal, Thulani Hlatshwayo’s tame header led to lost possession, and the resulting scramble led to the free kick from which Ruzaigh Gamildien scored. One. Then Richard Ofori was careless before being dispossessed. Two. In the game against Stellies, Goodman Mosele lost possession in the middle of the field, and while the final goal was deflected, that chance should not have been allowed in the first place. Three. And then, this past weekend, possession was given away on both occasions. It’s a worrying pattern, especially at home.
The good news then, is that Pirates are away this weekend. The bad news is that they are away to a coastal city that hasn’t always been welcoming to them.
Pirates last won a match in Cape Town five years ago, beating Ajax 2-1 in September 2016. Since then, four different coaches have travelled to Cape Town opposition and all failed to win.
10 – This will be Pirates’s 10th match away to Cape based opposition since Pirates’s last win against Ajax in 2016 – Pirates have lost five and drawn four of the previous nine (including one bio-bubble game).
As if that was not daunting enough, Cape Town City seem to have found their groove again. The 4-0 win over Swallows in the MTN8 semi-final was a reminder of how good City can be. One could argue it is a reminder how bad Swallows are, but it’s worth noting Pirates only beat the same Swallows side 1-0, thanks to a late goal. However, Pirates will take confidence from their record against their former coach.
7 – As a coach, Eric Tinkler has faced Orlando Pirates seven times, and he is yet to win one; drawing four and losing three of the previous seven encounters. It’s the longest he has gone without winning at least once against a single opponent. This will be his eighth attempt.
The Buccaneers need the win to find some consistency, otherwise they will always play second fiddle. After beating Swallows and then Chippa United in a space of a week, a third win in a row would have really added wind to their sails. But the defeat to Sundowns means they still haven’t won three league games on the trot since the bio-bubble.
For a club the size of Pirates, that is inexcusable.
AmaZulu v Kaizer Chiefs
0 – Kaizer Chiefs are unbeaten in 18 league games away to AmaZulu in the PSL (W12 D6), their longest unbeaten run away to any PSL opponent.
Chippa United v SuperSport United
0 – Gavin Hunt is winless in seven matches against Kaitano Tembo, currently his longest run without a win against any local coach.
Baroka v Stellies
9 – Going back to the end of last season, Stellies are unbeaten in 9 games (W3 D6), their longest such streak since a 14-game run in the NFD that ended in January 2019.
TS Galaxy v Sekhukhune
10 – TS Galaxy have won just one of their last 10 #DStvPrem games (D3 L6 since the second week of May).
By Opta Jabu