JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MAY 02, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Jimmy Tau celebrates during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on May 02, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Siphiwe Tshabalala will be out of action “for at least 10 days” after suffering a knee injury in Kaizer Chiefs’ pre-season game at the weekend, making him unavailable for this Saturday’s Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates.

Amakhosi take on the Buccaneers in this year’s Carling Cup, where line-ups for both teams are voted for by the fans and, as one of the more popular players around, Tshabalala was sure to make the cut but will have to sit out the tie following his injury at the weekend.

“He sustained a knee injury and has been advised to rest for at least 10 days. Shabba should be available for our MTN8 match against (Mamelodi) Sundowns (on August 4),” said Chiefs team manager Bobby Motaung.

But Bafana star Tshabalala is not the only player who will miss Saturday’s clash (Soccer City, 7.30pm). Defender Jimmy Tau will not take part as he sustained a serious injury towards the latter part of last season - yet in what exposes the peculiarity of this competition, he is still ranked among the players who raked in the most votes on both sides.

At Pirates, Tokelo Rantie’s participation is also in doubt in spite of being voted into the starting XI, with the striker’s future unclear as he is owned by Swedish side Hassleholm, who reportedly want the Buccaneers to fork out a transfer fee of around R2 million to have him permanently.

Rantie, 21, was one of Pirates’ revelations last season and his possible departure would leave Augusto Palacios’ team thin in attack. He has not trained with the club this pre-season. “We haven’t given up on him and are still negotiating to have him in permanently. I can’t say if he’ll play on Saturday,” said Pirates spokesman Mickey Modisane.

For Saturday’s game, both Chiefs and Pirates will be forced to pick the players with the nearest highest votes to replace Tshabalala, Tau and Rantie.

Rantie’s place should be taken by Thulasizwe Mbuyane, while either Tefo Mashamaite or Lincoln Zvasiya should replace Tau. Tshabalala could be replaced by George Lebese.

Votelines shut down at midnight tonight and the final line-ups are expected to be named on Thursday. On matchday, fans can also make substitutions via SMS. - The Star