Pirates can narrow the gap: De Sa

By Drum Digital
29 April 2013

Despite log leaders Kaizer Chiefs holding a significant advantage in the closing stages of the season, Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa believes his side can still challenge for honours.

"We want to try and get to second place and get closer to Chiefs," De Sa said on Sunday.

"Now we know that with Chiefs dropping points, anything is possible. We've just got to make sure we keep up our end of the business and not worry too much about the others."

Chiefs and second-placed Platinum Stars, one point ahead of Pirates, played to goalless draw in Polokwane on Sunday to leave the door slightly ajar for Pirates.

Third-placed Buccaneers, seven points behind Chiefs with a game in hand, host log-bottom Chippa United in an Absa Premiership encounter at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.

Pirates secured a stoppage-time winner against Wits at the weekend, and De Sa predicted another difficult assignment against the bottom feeders, desperate to avoid relegation in their maiden top-flight campaign.

"They just get tougher. You don't know who to play -- a team from the top or a team from the bottom," De Sa said.

"At this stage the bottom teams are more difficult. We watched Chippa in their last two games and they've been very good."

De Sa believed the Chilli Boys would throw everything at Pirates to get something out the game.

"We're expecting a massive fight from them for survival.

"We're battered and bruised and have one eye on the African Champions League, so we'll have a big job to get them ready -- rested firstly, recovered and then get them up for it to try get the three points."

Collins Mbesuma pulled up with a tight hamstring in the pre-match warm-up before the Wits game, but De Sa was optimistic he would be ready for the Chippa clash.

"Benni McCarthy played 90 minutes against Wits, which was a little bit unexpected," he said.

"Collins had a bit of a hamstring pull during the warm-ups, so we were a little bit depleted as well. He's got to be in my plans, but we'll see how he's feeling at training on Monday and on Tuesday morning, and we'll make a call from there."

De Sa admitted he would have his work cut out deciding on his starting team.

"I hope Collins will be training. We need him -- we need everybody -- as Happy Jele is out suspended and Daine Klate comes in.

"We'll carry on with our A team that is available and hope for the best."

Midweek Premiership fixtures: Tuesday: Orlando Pirates v Chippa United (Orlando Stadium), Mamelodi Sundowns v Free State Stars (Loftus Stadium).

Wednesday: Ajax Cape Town v Kaizer Chiefs (Cape Town Stadium), University of Pretoria v Wits (Tuks Stadium), Moroka Swallows v Golden Arrows (Dobsonville Stadium), AmaZulu v Black Leopards (Princess Magogo Stadium), Platinum Stars v Maritzburg United (Royal Bafokeng Stadium), Bloemfontein Celtic v SuperSport United (Free State Stadium).

-by Sapa

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