Orlando Pirates are looking to return to winning ways when they travel to the Peter Mokaba Stadium to face Marumo Gallants in the Round of 16 of the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday evening.
Marumo Gallants come into the game on a five-game unbeaten run across all competitions following their narrow 1-0 victory over Stellenbosch FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo scoring the decisive goal on Sunday, 6 March.
Gallants made their way to the Round of 16 in the Nedbank Cup after a brace from Sede Dion fired his side to a 2-0 victory over Santos at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in the last 32.
Orlando Pirates will enter the last 16 clash off the back of a 2-1 defeat against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the last edition of the Soweto derby at the Orlando Stadium over the weekend as Kwame Peprah’s goal on either side of goals from Reeve Frosler and Eric Mathoho, proved to be a consolation goal.
The Buccaneers reached this stage of the competition after clinching a hard-fought 1-0 win over a stubborn AmaZulu side at the Orlando Stadium on 6 February with Deon Hotto’s 53rd-minute goal being the difference in the match.
Orlando Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids: “Always disappointing when you come off a defeat and on top of that not the first defeat, the second defeat this season in relation to the Soweto derby.
“It was very important to reset the thinking to not wallow too much in the disappointment of the derby, but immediately look forward and what is facing us is a team in form – Marumo Gallants. A good footballing team, a team that you have to respect on all fronts.
“[It’s important] To re-focus, to re-energise, to get the thinking of the players clear just in relation to what task lay ahead and the one goal, to progress to the next round.”
Marumo Gallants coach Dan Malesela: “This is going to be one of the most difficult games that we have ever played. We’ve been having not a good run per say but a better run.
“We had an objective to say we’re trying to build our team, trying to improve our players, improve our game almost every day and the biggest challenge now is we are facing Pirates.
“You know Pirates is not only the name, the magnitude of the team itself, the kind of players that they have so it is going to be very, very tough but with how we do things, how we play I think we will be equal to the task.”
In the last three meetings between the two teams, the Buccaneers won the last game 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium on 20 December 2021, while the other two matches ended in goalless draws.
Although Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo is yet to score in the Nedbank Cup, the midfielder has taken his goal tally to six goals after he scored the winning goal in their 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC in their last DStv Premiership fixture over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Kwame Peprah has been in some form for Pirates in recent games and has scored and assisted in their win over Royal Leopards in the Caf Confederation Cup before scoring a consolation goal against Amakhosi on Saturday.
Dan Malesela will be without the services of goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo and will name King Ndlovu as his replacement between the sticks for Gallants, while Mandla Ncikazi will be boosted by the fact that he’ll have a fully fit squad as they look to return to winning ways.
Possible Starting Lineup:
Marumo Gallants: King Ndlovu, Ayanda Nkili, Lehlohonolo Nonyane, Lebohang Mabotja, Mpho Mvelase, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Katlego Otladisa, Joseph Malongoane, Miguel Timm, Celimpilo Ngema, Sede Dion.
Orlando Pirates: Siyabonga Mpontshane, Bandile Shandu, Olisa Ndah, Paseka Mako, Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Deon Hotto, Thabang Monare, Ben Motshwari, Kabelo Dlamini, Thembinkosi Lorch, Kwame Peprah.