He may have been part of the last Orlando Pirates team to win the league, but now as the Cape Town City manager, he might dent their Premiership title hopes this season. Photo: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Benni McCarthy brought joy to Parktown when he inspired Orlando Pirates during his time as a player at the club.

But now as a manager, he might dent their Premiership title hopes this season.

McCarthy is currently in charge of Cape Town City, and will welcome the Buccaneers to Athlone Stadium on Saturday (3pm kickoff) in a crucial league showdown.

The Sea Robbers and Mamelodi Sundowns are on level on points at the top of the table with 53 after 28 games.

The two sides are separated by goal difference, with Pirates leading the way on +17, with Sundowns on +13.

The Buccaneers are going through a barren run when it comes to trophies. They haven’t tasted success in five years, but they are two games away from breaking their trophy drought.

Pirates have endured turbulent times in the league in recent years. The last time they lifted the title was when McCarthy was still donning the colours of the Buccaneers in 2011/12.

He was colossal that season. Pirates needed a victory in their last game against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to defend their crown.

And it was the all-time leading goal-scorer for Bafana Bafana who delivered on the day as he produced a brace.

The Sea Robbers are in fine form at the moment, having amassed four victories on the trot.

Pirates require another two wins to taste glory. They have to beat City away tomorrow, and can wrap up the league at home against Polokwane City next week.

Pirates want to keep that run of wins going against the Citizens, but their former hero will have a massive say in their destiny.

Pirates lost twice last year in Cape Town. They dropped crucial six points at a critical stage of the season against City and Ajax Cape Town. This is their first trip to the Mother City since those defeats.

City are fourth on the log with 47 points, so mathematically they can still win the league provided that Pirates, Sundowns and Wits lose all their remaining fixtures.

But they also need to win with huge margins because if Pirates, Sundowns and the Clever Boys suffer defeats in their last two matches, they will all be tied on 53 points, and goal difference will be the deciding factor.

So, as much as Pirates need the maximum points, City are also desperate for points.

Sundowns will entertain Arrows at home on Tuesday, and they will finish the league on the road to Free State Stars next weekend.

Wits will face Baroka and Abafana Bes’thende in their last two matches.

@Mihlalibaleka


The Star

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