Minenhle Mkhize.
Minenhle Mkhize.

OPINION: Bucs and Arrows square off for a thriller

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Mar 7, 2020

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Durban is a happy hunting ground for Orlando Pirates but that record will be put to the test today when they play at a venue they are unfamiliar with - the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.

The Buccaneers will square off against Lamontville Golden Arrows in an Absa Premiership showdown at 6pm. Abafana Bes’thende have proven tough to overcome at the Clermont ground where they beat Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United.

But Arrows’ good home record this season will need to be supported by their A-game to emerge as victors because Pirates have an impressive record in Durban.

This is the city where they ended their run of 10 years without a trophy in 2009/10 under the tenure of Dutchman Ruud Krol.

The Sea Robbers swept past Moroka Swallows to lift the MTN8 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. That triumph was the beginning of two good years for Pirates as they went on to clinch a double treble.

On their way to that success, the Sea Robbers dispatched Bidvest Wits 3-1 to win the Telkom Knockout at Moses Mabhida.

Coincidentally, they completed their double treble in Durban against Arrows in 2010/11.

The last time they won silverware was in 2014 against Bidvest Wits at Moses Mabhida in the Nedbank Cup. Since then they have endured turbulent times.

Mathematically, the Sea Robbers can still win the league but those title hopes can be ended today at Sugar Ray Xulu.

Pirates can’t afford to lose after the 1-0 defeat they suffered against bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs last weekend at FNB Stadium.

The Buccaneers are nine points behind the log leaders, Chiefs.

Amakhosi will entertain AmaZulu tonight in a game they are expected to win. So Pirates can’t afford to slip up again. A defeat today will end their title hopes in the city where they have enjoyed success over the decade.

Pirates are third on the log with 39 points after 22 games while Amakhosi are 48 points after 21 games.

It is striker Gabadinho Mhango and his suppliers that Arrows will have to contain this evening. Malawian international Mhango has been a pillar of strength for the Buccaneers in front of goals but he has fired blanks in the past two league games against Chiefs and Black Leopards.

Mhango will be out to add to his 14 strikes this season. He will be up against Knox Mutizwa who is breathing down his neck. The Zimbabwean has netted 11 goals.

All eyes will be on the duo to deliver the goals once again for their respective sides this evening in Clermont.

Arrows are eighth on the log with 31 points and will be desperate to add to that tally to enhance their chances of finishing in the top eight.

Pirates have enjoyed a lot of success over Arrows over the past decade. It is something the Durban team’s coach Steve Komphela will want to end. Can they do it? Only time will tell but there’s one thing guaranteed. We are in for a thriller in Clermont.


The Star

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