Pirates believe they have the stuff to lift premiership trophy

INTENSE BATTLE: Sifiso Myeni of Orlando Pirates, right, battles with Puleng Tlolane during the Absa Premiership match against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium on Saturday
INTENSE BATTLE: Sifiso Myeni of Orlando Pirates, right, battles with Puleng Tlolane during the Absa Premiership match against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium on Saturday

ORLANDO Pirates are beginning to believe they can usurp Kaizer Chiefs at the top and lift the Absa Premiership trophy at the end of the season.

The Buccaneers were a massive 20 points behind the leaders Amakhosi at the start of the year but that gap has been reduced to just 12 points with 10 matches still to play in the Premiership.

Caretaker coach Eric Tinkler says he asked his players how many points they think they can get from the remaining fixtures in the league and their response was positive.

“I showed them the remaining fixtures and they needed to be honest in what they felt would be attainable.

“They believe we can win every single game and in order to do that we need to go game by game.

“It’s important we stay focused and work hard,” Tinkler said

The Buccaneers registered their fourth straight league victory on Saturday, beating Polokwane City 3-1 at Orlando Stadium.

First-half goals from Mpho Makola, Kermit Erasmus and captain Oupa Manyisa were enough to beat City.

With 10 matches left, Pirates left back Thabo Matlaba says they cannot be ruled out of the race.

“As players we believe [it’s possible]. We spoke at training about performing and you can see today we performed. Now we have to go to Free State Stars to collect three points.”

Tinkler’s mettle will be tested this week with two big matches Bucs have to win to keep their hopes alive.

Pirates travel to the Free State to face Free State Stars at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday and return to Soweto for Saturday’s clash with rivals Kaizer Chiefs, the last team to beat Pirates in the league on December 6.

Good news for Tinkler is that striker Lehlohonolo Majoro returns from a two game suspension.

“We will travel back from Free State immediately after the game. We can travel the next morning, but players feel a lot of fatigue after a bus trip.

“So we will leave immediately after the game and arrive at about 2am. We will allow them to sleep in and have a session later on Thursday.

“Then we will have Friday to prepare for the game on Saturday. It will be a tough week, but it’s nothing new,” Tinkler said.

-Tshepang Mailwane

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