at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa is unsure if the festive break did more harm than good as his team resume their league schedule against SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
“I think we are only going to tell on Saturday,” De Sa said.
“I would like to believe that the rest was good for the guys because we were tired, especially in the last few games where we looked a bit jaded.
“The guys showed signs of fatigue and with that comes a lot of niggling injuries.”
Owing to their participation in the Caf Champions League, in which they lost in the final against Al Ahly, Pirates find themselves 11th on the log table with 16 points from eight matches. They have at least five games in hand as the rest of the sides have played between 13 and 15 games so far in this year's campaign.
“I think the break was vital for the players to get away from the game,” De Sa said.
“It’s been a very gruelling four months, travelling into Africa. If you have travelled once into Africa you will know how tough it is and if you travel five or six times like we did then you will realise how much it takes out of you.”
Coming off the seasonal break, De Sa would have preferred an easier fixture than the one against SuperSport United.
“You can’t be picky and choosy and there are no easy games. Sometimes when you play against tough opposition you rise to the occasion and play better. Hopefully that’s what we will do on Saturday.”
The Buccaneers are still missing some key players through injury but De Sa said they had the depth to carry them through.
“Regulars like Siyabonga Sangweni, Patrick Phungwayo and Rooi Mahamutsa are all still injured. These are three solid defenders that we have had to do without for some time.
“We do feel it but we have to carry on. You need more than just 11 players and that’s what we have Ä other guys stepping in and doing the job.” – Sapa