The Buccaneers are back at Thohoyandou Stadium for the second time in four days but this time facing the log anchors
Coming up against bottom-placed Leopards, the Soweto giants appear, on paper, set for an easy afternoon, but it could turn out to be a tricky outing for them as they face a desperate side keen to vacate the basement.
Victory for the Buccaneers would see them returning to position four from where they were dislodged by Golden Arrows, who edged Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 1-0 on Saturday.
But a draw or a defeat will pin them at the fifth spot until at least their next game on Wednesday.
Pirates go into this match fresh from a convincing 3-0 dismissal of Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila last Wednesday at the same venue.
|Game||Black Leopards vs Orlando Pirates|
|Date||Sunday, January 17|
|Time||15:30 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport’s PSL channel 202/SABC 1|
Squads & Team News
Leopards coach Dylan Kerr is having a difficult run with the team but carries good news of a full squad complement ahead of the Pirates clash.
Last Thursday, the Englishman told the club’s media department that he has an injury-free camp with all his players available for selection.
He also mentioned that he has a wide selection base as no Leopards player tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pirates will welcome back defender Thulani Hlatshwayo who was suspended for the TTM match.
The Buccaneers co-captain is likely to partner Ntsikelelo Nyauza at the heart of defence while Innocent Maela could be switched to the left-back position if Paseka Mako does not start.
After an anticipated return to the starting lineup last Wednesday, goalkeeper Richard Ofori was not available but might be back as he is in camp with the rest of the squad.
The Ghana number one goalkeeper has missed Pirates’ past three PSL games due to injury with Wayne Sandilands guarding goal in his absence.
Forwards Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa remain on the sidelines injured and will not feature on Sunday.
It would be a third straight league match for the duo being out recovering from their respective injuries.
Defender Abel Mabasa is also still out nursing his ulna.
This is a match of teams experiencing almost contrasting fortunes in this PSL campaign.
Pirates are fighting to stay as close as possible to log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who are eight points better off despite a slip-up following a 0-0 against SuperSport United on Saturday.
Collecting maximum points will see the Soweto giants come to within five points of the defending champions.
Leopards, on the other hand, will be playing to vacate the relegation zone as they are stuck at the bottom, where they are two points off their nearest rivals TS Galaxy and Maritzburg.
Morale appears very low in the Lidoda Duvha camp as Kerr’s men have gone on run of five matches without tasting victory and boast of just one win in nine games.
That has complicated their season and judging from the way they have been performing, it might be a tall order for them to claim three points from Pirates.
They face a Buccaneers side that has four league wins so far, five draws and a defeat, but still keen to recover from dropping four points in their first two games of 2021.
Pirates have won all four league meetings since Leopards returned to the top-flight league in 2018.
The two sides’ last clash saw Pirates winning 1-0 away in Venda in February 2020 courtesy of a Thabiso Mokoena injury-time own goal.