JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele called out Orlando Pirates for their conservative analysis of their chances in the Absa Premiership.
The Buccaneers have downplayed their title challenge, even though they sit in second place with eight games to go.
Pirates trail log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by four points, which has set up a potentially explosive Soweto Derby against Amakhosi on Saturday at FNB Stadium.
Chiefs are five points behind Sundowns in third place, which has made this Soweto Derby a straight shootout for the championship race.
The winner will not only get closer to Sundowns, but will also give them a boost in the championship race, having gotten the better of their arch-rivals.
But Pirates argue that their aim is to only improve from last season’s disastrous season. Happy Jele continued singing from that hymn book on Wednesday.
“Happy has just lied to all of you (by saying that they aren’t looking at the league),” Mphahlele said. “Happy lied because they are number two, and they say that they are not thinking about the league. I don’t know. Then what are you thinking about?
“If you’re number two, you are fighting for the league. It’s the same with us. We are number three, one point behind Pirates, and we are fighting for the league. There’s no need to beat around the bush. We want to win the league.
“We want to try and challenge for the league. If he doesn’t want to challenge for the league, maybe they must bring their MDC (MultiChoice Diski Challenge) team for the Soweto Derby.”
“You’ve got jokes,” Jele interjected.
“If you aren’t fighting for the league, then bring your MDC team,” Mphahlele said. “Let’s see if you aren’t fighting for the league. We are fighting for the league and we are going to give it everything. It is a big game.
“We are up against a team that’s doing well. Coach Micho (Milutin Sredojevic) and (assistant) coach Rhulani (Mokwena) have done well. They’ve brought in new players. There are a lot of new faces and the team seems to be gelling well.
“We are aware of that. They scored four goals and conceded two against Chippa United – just to let you know that I was watching. We know that it’s hard for the fans to fill up FNB Stadium and it’s a draw. It’s a big game.
“It’s the biggest derby in southern Africa. I just hope and pray that there is a winner at the end of the day, because we also need to close the gap created by Sundowns.
“Maybe we should make a Soweto pact: that someone wins to close the gap. One team has to win to make the finish interesting.”