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Johannesburg – With Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates sitting comfortably at the summit of the Premiership table, Buccaneers coach Roger de Sa insists there is still a long way to go before the title is decided.
“This season is going to be a season that's totally divided between the first half and the second half because there's a huge break in between,” De Sa said.
“Anything can happen in the second half of the season.”
Pirates settled for a 1-1 draw in their derby clash against Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday, leaving De Sa's side in second place in the standings, three points behind Amakhosi, as Bucs continued their search for a third straight league title.
De Sa believed some of their traditional rivals, who were struggling in this campaign, would come out firing after a break of nearly two months for the holiday period and the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.
Only two rounds of matches remained ahead of the lengthy hiatus.
“I expect teams like Sundowns to really turn it on, and SuperSport to turn the corner as well,” he said.
“We're some way from being a two horse-race. There's a lot of football still to be played. I'm looking forward to the second half of the season and a bit of 'pre-season' with the team.
De Sa said while Chiefs and Pirates were the pace-setters, the rest were close behind and it was too early to predict the eventual title winner.
While he was disappointed to share the points with Chiefs, De Sa was pleased the front runners had not been given the opportunity to extend their advantage at the top of the standings.
“Obviously we wanted to win this big game, but I think today was really a six-pointer,” he said.
“Had Chiefs won the match it would have been a lot more difficult. At least now we're still in touch. One point is better than none.”
In his first season with the Buccaneers, De Sa was hoping for a typical late charge from his Soweto side.
“I know Pirates in the past have always been there and thereabouts, and in the second round they have a real go at it,” said De Sa.
“We haven't really been playing to our best. We've had a lot of injuries and I came into the team three games into the season, so it was a little bit of hit the ground running.
“Afcon will give me a chance to work a little bit and see if we can be better in the second round.” – Sapa