Pirates prepare for league behind closed doors

2015-01-15 18:12

Unlike their rivals Kaizer Chiefs, who have lined up high-profile friendly matches ahead of the league’s resumption next month, Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler says his team will continue with their more low-key preparations.

“I am pleased with the way it’s going so far. The players’ response has been good and we are getting there,” Tinkler said today.

“We have played matches behind closed doors and the aim is to ensure that by the time the league resumes, we are in better shape, physically and mentally, to cope with the demands of winning.”

Chiefs take on German side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim tomorrow night at the FNB Stadium while Pirates will play the Soweto All Stars at the Rand Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Taking over the reins from Vladimir Vermezovic a month ago, Tinkler said playing with two strikers, and partnering Lehlohonolo Majoro with Kermit Erasmus was a real possibility.

“These are some of the tactical aspects we have been working on. The two players can play together, there is no doubt about that, but it is important to look at the opposition and other tactical points before we slot them both into the team.

“All the players – including other strikers Hélder Pelembe, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Lennox Bacela – want to play and that is good for the team.

“We bought these players because we believe in them and when the need arises, we must use them. Pirates are a big club so not all the players are going to play at once but those given the chance to play must grab it as if it might be the last.”

Still in the dark regarding new acquisitions, the former Bafana Bafana midfielder said he was happy to work with his current resources for the moment.

“It’s all systems go for us. Whether new players are coming or not, we have a decent squad to compete on all fronts,” Tinkler said.

“The management hasn’t said anything to me so that means I must continue with my work and stop worrying about speculations linking Pirates with so and so.”

Pirates rounded off last year on a high note and Tinkler said it was his objective to push his boys even harder so they return next month in good shape when the league resumes and they compete in the Nedbank and Confederations Cup.

Tinkler attributed some of Bafana Bafana’s recent success to the progress being made at club level.

“This is good for our country. Pirates reached the final of the CAF Champions League and we now have the national team going ten matches unbeaten before the Africa Cup of Nations starts.

“It shows that we are doing the basics right at club level and coach Shakes Mashaba is benefiting.”

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