Bay side need points against Bucs
IT HAS come to just playing to consolidate their position in the Absa Premier League table for Orlando Pirates, a fact that has somehow overshadowed Eric Tinkler’s role since he took over the reins, albeit temporarily, in December.
That is why it perhaps made more sense for midfielder Sifiso Myeni to say Chippa United, their opponents in tonight’s league clash at Orlando Stadium, had more to lose than the Buccaneers.
The only thing at stake for Pirates, who are unbeaten in nine premiership games, is a top-eight position, while Chippa are still looking for their first victory under Ernst Middendorp.
Tinkler has steadied the ship, having replaced Vladimir Vermezovic when the club appeared to be in a minor crisis as the Serbian struggled for positive results.
The Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs in December remains the only fixture Tinkler has lost in three months in charge.
“I’ve worked with him before [at Bidvest Wits] and I think the rest of the players have started to understand him more as a coach,” Myeni said about Tinkler’s influence. “We are able to follow his instructions better now and it shows because we’ve only lost once since he took over from coach VV. What is important now is to finish as high as we can on the log.”
As it stands, Tinkler’s record is under no serious threat given how Chippa have fared ever since owner Chippa Mpengesi once again showed Roger Sikhakhane the door in favour of a more “experienced” Premier League coach in Middendorp shortly after Tinkler was appointed.
What will worry Pirates is the result from the corresponding fixture in Port Elizabeth when Chippa, playing as hosts, shocked the Buccaneers with a 1-0 victory in September.
“What will make this a difficult match is the fact that we gave our all during the derby, while Chippa didn’t play. They would have had time to recover and obviously watched us at the weekend.
“It’s even more important for them to win, and they would be happy to see it come against an in-form Pirates team,” Myeni said.
The winger, who was praised by Tinkler for his performance on Saturday despite the goalless draw against Chiefs, will again be under the microscope to guide the team to victory, especially with striker Lehlohonolo Majoro suspended.
Tinkler is likely to ask Kermit Erasmus, who came off the bench against Chiefs, to lead the line.