Vincent Pule, seen here in action for Bafana against Paraguay, faces a late fitness test for Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says that the next few days will determine whether Bafana Bafana players Innocent Maela and Vincent Pule will face Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.

The Buccaneers duo played the full 90 minutes in Bafana’s 1-1 draw against Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

That will make it a short turnaround for Saturday’s Telkom Knockout semi-final against the Amakhosi, which will again take place at the KZN venue.

Left back Maela and left wing Pule are key figures in the Pirates set-up, and provide the width on attack as well.

“Two of our players played the full match for Bafana Bafana against Paraguay during the week, and we have that in mind‚” Sredojevic said at a PSL press conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Both of them will have to pass a fitness test in order to prove that they are ready, because a match of this magnitude and importance demands every single player to be 200 percent ready.

“Friday’s last training session will tell us what to do, but we strongly hope that the scorer of the winning goal in the last match against Chiefs (Pule) will be part of the team on Saturday.

“We shall know when we have that late fitness test what is happening.”

Chiefs received a boost on the injury front on Thursday, with coach Giovanni Solinas declaring that midfielder Lebogang Manyama is fit following his recent car accident.

But the Amakhosi are also waiting to see if right back Ramahlwe Mphahlele will be ready after he went off with a groin strain during the Bafana match.

Pirates won the last Soweto Derby 2-1 on October 27, and Sredojevic is braced for a Chiefs onslaught on Saturday (3pm kickoff).

“We are fully aware that our opponents want to make revenge. We need to be on our toes, as we are playing a team with top-quality individuals,” the Serbian mentor said.

“Itumeleng Khune is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and Khama Billiat is one of the players that could play in Europe.

“We are not guaranteed (a victory) – we need to work for it to go through to the finals to put the smiles on the faces of the Happy People. They are that driving force, that fuelling factor that keeps us moving.”

@ashfakmohamed 


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