Orlando Pirates have put behind them the disappointment of being knocked out of the CAF Champions League and are now fully focussed on challenging for the ABSA premiership title.
Pirates assistant coach, Fadlu Davids, says their aim is to collect maximum points in their remaining seven league matches starting with Monday’s top of the table clash against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Fans of Pirates and Sundowns were salivating at the prospect of watching their beloved teams lock horns in Africa’s premier continental club competition, but that will not happen with the country’s hopes in the CAF Champions League now resting on Sundowns’ shoulders after Pirates were knocked out.
It might a blessing in disguise for Pirates that they now only have the league title to challenge for.
Davids says that their aim will be getting maximum points in the ABSA Premiership.
“We are extremely disappointed on the one hand, but now our focus is fully to the league starting with Sundowns match followed by the Bidvest match and two matches after that so we really have to try and get maximum points.”
Whoever wins Monday’s match will improve their chances of winning the league title while dimming the other’s chances of doing so.
As for Pirates, it will also be a chance to record a rare win over Sundowns at their fortress. Pirates have struggled against Sundowns at the Orlando stadium, but have done well against them in away matches.
Davids says that this match should not be considered as a title decider.
“We can’t say this is a title decider it will be showing disrespect to Bidvest, Cape Town City and Supersport who are all still in the race. I think the title race will be decided on the last day.”
Pirates captain, Happy Jele, says that this is a chance for the club to redeem themselves against Sundowns in their Orlando home ground.
“It;s been a while to beat Sundowns at Olando, but I think now it’s the chance to change that. I think Sundowns are a good team, but Monday; it’s gonna be a different ball game.”
Pirates will be without the injured midfielder, Xola Mlambo, and the suspended Vincent Pule, while Sundowns will be without Uruguayan striker, Gaston Sirino, who is serving a two-match suspension.