Soft draw for Pirates

2011-07-02 20:08

For the second Absa Premiership season running, Orlando ­Pirates will open their fixtures against a newly promoted club.
This emerged at Thursday’s live draw of the 2011/12 PSL fixtures.

Newcomers Black Leopards and Jomo Cosmos face a baptism of fire when the new ­season kicks off next month.

Last year, Pirates opened their account against Vasco da Gama in Cape Town and luck is on their side again this ­season as they have been drawn against Leopards.

Leopards will have to be ­cautious – Vasco got ­relegated ­after facing Bucs in their opening match.

This time, the league brought its auditors from KPMG to conduct the draw publicly to avoid insinuations that certain teams are given “easy” matches to open the season.

PSL general manager Derek Blanckensee described the draw as “transparent”.

Cosmos face success-hungry Kaizer Chiefs away in their first game. As if that’s not enough, ­Jomo Sono’s boys face an equally hungry Mamelodi Sundowns in their second match.

The draw was made in such a way that the two newcomers would not have to face the top three – however Cosmos still face a fourth-placed and eager-for-success Downs.

While the draw might raise ­eyebrows in certain quarters, it could well be what the two ­rookies need to get to grips with life in the elite league.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza said when drafting the new fixtures the league took into account that Bafana Bafana might play in the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January.

He said if Bafana qualified for the showpiece, the league would have a two-month break from ­December 21 to February 21.

Khoza added that the league had accommodated coach Pitso Mosimane’s plea for more training days before the crucial Afcon qualifier against Niger in ­September.

The new fixtures will be ­released soon so that clubs can give their input before the final version is made public.

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