Edward “Magents” Motale believes Kjell Jonevret will be the catalyst for Orlando Pirates improvement. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates legend Edward “Magents” Motale believes Orlando Pirates will finish in the top four of the Absa Premiership table.

As it stands, the Sea Robbers are 11th on the PSL standings with 23 points from 20 games, following a poor run of performances which has seen them produce just four wins.

“The reason why I say Pirates will finish in the top four is because the players are now responding well to new coach (Kjell Jonevret),” Motale said. “He only had a few days working with them and they immediately responded positively to his way of doing things. We have gone three games unbeaten, so it's a positive sign.

“If you can recall where Mamelodi Sundowns were when they began to play catch-up on the domestic front, following their campaign in the CAF Champions League, you would then realise that this dream is still alive,” Motale added.

“They were also down there, at the bottom half of the table, and after a series of wins, they moved into the top-eight bracket. We just need to find that winning form we’ve been lacking all season long and we’ll be fine. There’s no way Pirates will finish this season outside the top eight, no ways.”

Motale added that the Fifa break came at a crucial time, as it gave the Sweden-born coach more time to get his players to play a system he wants them to play.

“This break was a blessing in disguise,” Motale said. “It gave our coach time to work with his players and get them to play the way he wants them to play.

“What impressed me most about him is that he was able to sort out our defensive errors in a short space of time,” Motale added. “Trust me when I say this team will only get better in the remaining (10) league games.”

Motale, who captained the Sea Robbers to their first and only CAF Champions League title back in 1995, warned that Pirates should never think they are going to have a walk in the park when they take on league strugglers Free State Stars at James Motlatsi Stadium today (kick-off 3pm), as that attitude will work against them.

Ea Lla Koto are second from bottom on the PSL standings with 19 points from 21 matches.

“This is going to be one of the most difficult matches for Pirates,” Motale said.

“Stars have had a horrible season, which explains why they are in a relegation dogfight. The thing is Ea Lla Koto have nothing to lose. If they win, they’ll go home bragging that they beat one of South Africa’s top teams. And if they lose, then they would have lost to a quality side and everybody will forget about that match. That won’t be the case if Bucs lose, though.”

Saturday Star