SuperSport United's Kaitano Tembo downplays Orlando Pirates' stuttering form


Matsatsantsa will be visiting the Orlando Stadium for a second time this season – this time on a mission to stretch their three-match winning streak in the Absa Premiership.

The last meeting saw the Buccaneers exit the MTN8 quarter-finals after playing to a 2-2 draw but failing to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout.

Since then, Pirates have suffered two defeats and eventually managed a second victory in their fifth league outing away to Black Leopards prior to the international break.

That result, Tembo believes, has come as a confidence boost to Milutin Sredojevic side, thus there will be no real psychological advantage for the Tshwane side.

“I don’t think they are under pressure at the moment because they won their last game, so they are confident – they played good football against Black Leopards,” said Tembo.

“I think it was a confidence booster for them after not winning for two or three games, so they will be on a high and it won’t be an easy game. It’s going to be very tough for us.”

However, with the FIFA break known to have the ability to disrupt teams’ momentum, the Zimbabwean tactician is more concerned with his own contingent that stayed behind and might be lacking sharpness leading to the return of domestic action.

“We had about seven players who went on national duty – Evans Rusike went to Zimbabwe and Ghampani Lungu to the Zambian national team, who are paying again on Wednesday in Gabon,” Tembo added.

“So he’ll probably only be here on Friday, and might not even be considered for selection [against Pirates] because of the travelling. We also had five players in Bafana Bafana.

“But it’s good that they were with their national teams and, which is very important, they were playing and training on a daily basis, so I’m not really concerned about that.

“My worry is the players who stayed behind – yes, we trained but in terms of playing and being motivated, that’s very key. I have to now try and work on them mentally to ensure they switch on for Saturday’s league game against Pirates.”

Kick-off of the clash in Soweto is scheduled for 20h15.

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