JOHANNESBURG – After crucial wins last week, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will be eager to build on that momentum and put pressure on Absa Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
It was, in fact, Pirates who briefly halted the Brazilians' runaway train a week ago with a 3-1 win at Loftus Versfeld to reduce the gap to five points after 17 matches.
While the number of points mean Sundowns haven’t yet built an unassailable lead, the inability of the Soweto giants to maintain their consistency has hurt them.
Chiefs travel to struggling Baroka FC for Sunday’s league clash and look to unleash striker Leonardo Castro for the first time in Amakhosi colours.
The Colombian has been waiting for a work permit since joining from Sundowns this month. Castro still lacks match fitness but could be gradually introduced if his papers are in order.
The Buccaneers have a home fixture when they also face a Limpopo side in Polokwane City, who were beaten 2-1 by Amakhosi last Saturday, tomorrow night at Orlando Stadium.
Chiefs and Pirates can no longer afford to slip up, especially given the recent transfer activity.
Although they have strengthened their squads - Amakhosi with the recruiting of Castro and Siphelele Ntshangase, and Bucs with more defensive acquisitions in Diamond Thopola and Phetso Maphanga - Sundowns boosted their side with impressive attackers.
Jeremy Brockie joined from SuperSport United, Cape Town City finally accepted an offer for Aubrey Ngoma and Gastòn Sirino arrived from Bolivia.
Sundowns will expect an immediate impact from Brockie if he makes his debut tomorrow against Platinum Stars.
Chiefs suffered a shock defeat to Baroka in September, with fans tearing down barricades at Moses Mabhida Stadium demanding answers and calling for coach Steve Komphela’s head.
Despite holding on to his job, the coach is still only a bad result away from rubbing the supporters up the wrong way, and Baroka are always a tough nut to crack for the Glamour Boys.
Ntshangase should be an important feature on Sunday as he comes up against his former teammates, while Polokwane will again fancy their chances having twice gone toe-to-toe with Pirates this season.
A PSL game in September ended 2-2, but Pirates weren’t so fortunate in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout two months later as they were booted out by Rise and Shine.
These two sides should test the resolve and consistency of Pirates and Chiefs this weekend.