JOHANNESBURG - The folly of the Carling Black Label Cup’s format could not have been made more glaring by the omission of Abbubaker Mobara from the Pirates starting line-up.
How The Ghost did not pick the one shining star from their club’s otherwise disastrous season serves to confirm that good old saying football is a game of opinions.
But surely even a blind man would have seen Mobara’s impact for the Buccaneers in the past campaign?
One of Pirates’ major problems last season was leaking goals - they let in an astonishing 40. Yet even then, Mobara’s class was evident as he gave the Pirates rearguard a semblance of some steel, composure and calmness.
All he lacked was a good partner, and I think Justice Chabalala, back from Chippa United, will be the perfect man for the job.
Having said that, I believe Ayanda Gcaba and Happy Jele deserve the chance to show they still are worthy of the famous black-and-white jersey. The duo know they owe it to their fans to deliver on Saturday.
Patrick Phungwayo is a player with a lot of potential, but injuries have hampered his progress over the years. This is another chance for him to stamp his authority in the left back position. Marc van Heerden and young Thabo Maele are waiting to pounce should he fluff the opportunity.
Thabo Matlaba is one player who always gives his all, even when the chips are down.
Can this Pirates back four contain the likes of Gustavo Paez, George Lebese and Bernard Parker?
No doubt the fans will want to see goals and not another drab encounter decided on penalties. But do Pirates have the men to do the job?
Thamsanqa Gabuza and Tendai Ndoro have another chance to prove that they will bang in the goals that can propel Pirates back to glory days.
ut it is Oupa Manyisa who will have to make things happen for them by pulling the strings from midfield.
Orlando Pirates Starting XI
Siyabonga Mpontshane, Thabo Matlaba, Happy Jele, Ayanda Gcaba, Patrick Phungwayo, Mpho Makola, Oupa Manyisa, Issa Sarr, Luvuyo Memela, Thamsanqa Gabuza, Tendai Ndoro.