Orlando Pirates’ bid for a second piece of silverware this season continues with a Nedbank Cup Last 16 date against Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.
After lifting the MTN8 earlier this season, the Soweto giants are having a go at South Africa’s premier knockout competition.
Coach Josef Zinnbauer is seeking his second trophy in charge of Pirates who last won the Nedbank Cup in 2014.
But standing in their way is a Maritzburg side currently struggling on the league front where they anchor the PSL standings.
|Game||Maritzburg United vs Orlando Pirates|
|Date||Saturday, February 27|
|Time||18:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202|
Squads & Team News
Maritzburg will be without midfielder Daylon Claasen who received a fourth yellow card in their last league match against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
It is a huge blow for coach Ernst Middendorp to lose a player who is a regular, having made 15 Premier Soccer League appearances, contributed a goal and two assists.
It is yet to be seen if midfielder Ryan Rae who was signed earlier this week will make his debut on Saturday.
Also in line to make maiden appearances are defender Dusan Stevic and Keletso Sifama who is on loan from Kaizer Chiefs.
Pirates still face some injury challenges especially upfront which has caused serious concerns for coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Already out are strikers Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa, leaving Zinnbauer with Jean-Marc Makusu as the only outright frontman available.
But Makusu spent the entire match on the bench in their last outing against SuperSport United after starting in the previous game against Jwaneng Galaxy.
Zinnbauer has been sweating over the fitness of striker Frank Mhango who has been battling fitness issues for the better part of this season.
While facing a striker crisis, the German tactician has been forced to use Deon Hotto, Terrence Dzvukamanja or Azola Tshobeni, as number nines.
After recording four straight wins across all competitions recently, Pirates were then held 1-1 by SuperSport United in their last match.
The four-match winning streak included eliminating National First Division side Uthongathi from the Nedbank Cup Round of 32.
They now face a Maritzburg side which kicked out another lower-division outfit in Sekhukhune United to reach the Last 16.
But Maritzburg go into Saturday’s match on the backdrop of four consecutive league defeats in what could dampen morale in their camp.
Preparing for this game, they had 14 days without getting involved in competitive action as they try their luck at the Nedbank Cup after an MTN8 quarter-final exit at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs.
The last encounter between Maritzburg and Pirates saw the latter winning 1-0 at Harry Gwala Stadium in January.
This was after the Buccaneers had won 1-0 courtesy of a Mhango late strike in the PSL bio-bubble.
The Team of Choice last beat Pirates in a league match in December 2016 as the Soweto giants have dominated Maritzburg.
Previous meetings between the two sides have seen Pirates winning 17 times, with Maritzburg registering six victories and seven games ending in draws.