Lucky Mashele (left) in action for the Orlando Pirates Multichoice Diski Challenge side. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Michael Loftman, the Orlando Pirates reserve league coach, will be hoping to bag his first ever reserve league trophy after leading his team to the semi-finals of the MultiChoice Diski Shield on Saturday.

Pirates played defending champions Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-1 draw in Hammarsdale - that being enough to send them to the summit of Group A with seven points, while eliminating Chiefs from the tournament.

While their arch-rivals Chiefs are promoting players on a regular basis, Loftman is yet to have a single graduate in the first team.

However, in the bigger scheme of things, his work isn’t going unnoticed especially after resurrecting goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands to being the knight in shining armour that he is now for the first team.

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Pirates will be facing stiff competition from last year’s finalists Mamelodi Sundowns who will be hoping to go a step further and win the competition.

In the group stage, Sundowns were the only team to have a 100% record as they defeated Baroka, Black Leopards and Polokwane City in Group C.

An added advantage for the Brazilians is that they are coached by David Notoane, who also coaches the national Under-23 team.

Following the inability to defend their MDC title, Golden Arrows will be hoping to make amends by winning the Diski Shield.

The main reason for their shortcoming in the league was largely due to the fact that their squad is 80% newbies.

However, considering that they’ve gelled together by now, there will be no excuse for not going all the way to clinch the title. Meanwhile, SuperSport United, who made the last four after a 2-1 win over Free State Stars in the last round of the group stage matches, will be hoping to give the club’s returnee Nico Labohm a token of appreciation for his guidance this season.

Labohm returned to the team as the MDC coach 13 years after his first spell as the development coach.

@Mihlalibaleka


The Star

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