JOHANNESBURG – For successive seasons, Orlando Pirates had enough power, skill and belief to win the Premiership title on the last day of the term.
But despite dragging the title race down to the wire this season, their fate is out of their hands.
Rewind to the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, and Pirates won the league on the last day of the campaign as they defeated Golden Arrows 2-1 and 4-2 respectively.
In this campaign, the Sea Robbers find themselves second on the log and two points adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, when all 16 top-flight teams play their last league matches simultaneously at 3pm on Saturday.
The Buccaneers will host Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium, while Sundowns will be away to Free State Stars at Goble Park.
A win for Pirates will take them to 57 points, while a victory for Sundowns will put them on 59 and subsequently crown them league champions for the second season in a row.
However, with Bucs having a better goal difference, for the permutations to go their way, they need to beat City and bank on Sundowns to drop points against Stars.
Going into the encounter at Orlando, the odds favour Pirates to bag full points after clinching six out of six in their last two matches at home.
At some stages in the season, the trophy looked to be on its way to Soweto following Pirates’ four wins on the trot.
But those title hopes were derailed by their 2-2 draw with Cape Town City in the penultimate round of fixtures, which brought Sundowns back into the thick of things.
After crashing out of the Caf Champions League semi-finals, the Brazilians will be out to get some silverware this season.
And after defeating Arrows 2-0 on Tuesday at Loftus Versfeld to leapfrog Pirates at the summit, it appears that no one can stop Pitso Mosimane’s troops from bagging a record ninth title.
Or can they?
☠ As we approach the last game of the ABSA Premiership 2018/19 Season, we reflect on the moments that define our Strength, our Fight, our Community, our Loyalty and our Respect.— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) May 10, 2019
In this game and in every game after, we are Once, Always, #ForeverPirates
It’s not only Stars that could dent Sundowns’ chances of winning the league, but the Premier Soccer League is also out for blood.
Sundowns were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in Wayne Arendse during their clash against Wits last October, and were subsequently fined monetary penalties by the league’s disciplinary committee.
However, the PSL have appealed the decision, urging for Wits to be given a 3-0 victory and that Sundowns be docked a point.
But to Pirates’ disappointment, that might not be enough to dismantle Sundowns’ plans, especially if they still win in Bethlehem, as they would end the season with 58 points.
☠ @orlandopirates vs @polokwane_city— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) May 9, 2019
📅 11 May 2019
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