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CARLING BLACK LABEL CUP MATCH PREVIEW: KAIZER CHIEFS VS ORLANDO PIRATES

Orlando Pirates are the most successful club in the Carling Black Label Cup competition with five titles and were the last club to lift the trophy in 2019.

The competition wasn’t played in 2020 because of the Corona Virus pandemic. Kaizer Chiefs have clinched the cup three times since its establishment in 2011 and are in pursuit of a fourth.

Many see this pre-season match as a friendly, but that’s not the case. Why? Because fans want to see their biggest rivals fall and earn bragging rights.

Fascinatingly, the fans get to vote for their favourite players to start the game, overpowering the head coach’s interests.

Voted starting line-ups for both teams:

Kaizer Chiefs: Itumeleng Khune, Eric Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso, Happy Mashiane, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lebohang Lesako, Njabulo Blom, Kearyn Baccus, Sabelo Radebe, Samir Nurkovic, Khama Billiat

Orlando Pirates: Richard Ofori, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Innocent Maela, Wayde Jooste, Nsikelelo Nyauza, Thembinkosi Lorch, Ben Motshwari, Deon Hotto, Fortune Makaringe, Thabang Monare, Gabadinho Mhango

Players to look out for

Chiefs

Khama Billiat just returned from injury and played his first game since April against Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League final. Even if he’s not in form his class is always going to trouble the defenders.

Samir Nurkovic is undoubtedly Amakhosi’s main weapon up front. His strength in the air gives Chiefs an advantage on set pieces and he’s a persistent striker who can force his way in.

Pirates

Thembinkosi Lorch has been out of action for a while but is always a star player for Pirates. He has scored five goals against the Phefeni Boys in Soweto derbies. Just a reminder, Pirates won this cup in 2019 with his long-range goal.

Gabadinho Mhango is a support striker that can link up the play, and his comfort on the ball allows him to get into pockets and use his abilities to shoot. The Chiefs’ defense is strong in the air but can they deal with this speedy and technically talented striker?

Will the new signings of both teams help them triumph?

The Fifa player transfer ban that was imposed on Chiefs two years ago was lifted on the 1st of July 2021 and that allowed Amakhosi to reinforce their squad. The new signings for both teams are not part of the XI’s as they were recently introduced, however, they might get an opportunity in the game.

The Gold and Black

*Kgaogelo Sekgota (signed from Swallows FC)

Known as a speedy, skillful, strong physically winger, Kgaogelo Sekgota is expected to add a spark in Amakhosi’s attack if he gets a run, especially considering Pirates’ shaky defense as of last season.

*Njabulo Ngcobo (signed from Swallows FC)

He is strong in the air, and his brilliant timing helps to block so-called quick players. That should work for the team when he faces the fast Gabadinho Mhango and Deon Hotto.

The Sea Robbers

*Goodman Moselle

I’m pretty sure that this signing brought a smile to many Bucs fans taking into account that they had an unstable defensive midfield last season. Moselle, a stubborn midfielder that doesn’t allow the opponents to play freely and he can also build up the play for the whole team.

Last five meetings between the clubs:

Chiefs won two, while Pirates won three of the last five games

Injuries

Pirates will have to play without Tshegofaso Mabaso, Zakhele Lepasa, Happy Jele, Vincent Pule, and Terrence Dzukamanja who are all injured.

Lebohang Manyama, Leonardo Castro, Dumisani Zuma, Siyabonga Ngezana for Amakhosi are out due to injuries

Both teams are looking to start the season with the confidence boost of winning this cup.

With Chiefs having performed well in the Caf Champions League last season, they are undoubtedly full of confidence. However, seeing the quality and depth of the Pirates’ squad, I’d put my money on them to be victorious.

The match will be played on Sunday at 5 PM at Orlando Stadium.

Sinethemba Sithole’ Prediction:

Kaiser Chiefs 0-1 Orlando Pirates

Written by Sinethemba

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