Orlando Pirates need to make TS Galaxy see stars

Tshegofatso Mabasa will have a point to prove for Orlando Pirates this weekend after being left out of the Bafana squad yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Tshegofatso Mabasa will have a point to prove for Orlando Pirates this weekend after being left out of the Bafana squad yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 16, 2024


Orlando Pirates’ visit to TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) has the potential to make or break their season.

Pirates will make the trip from Orlando to Mpumalanga on the back of a shocking loss to Richards Bay at home last Saturday.

That defeat prevented third-placed Pirates from leapfrogging Stellenbosch FC in second, after the Cape Winelands-based side lost to Moroka Swallows earlier in the day.

So, with two matches remaining before the curtain falls on the DStv Premiership season, Pirates can’t afford to drop points if they are to keep their chances of finishing second alive.

The clash away to Galaxy will not offer them the easiest chance of getting back to winning ways, as The Rockets are well structured.

Coach Sead Ramovic has made Galaxy a force to be reckoned with this season, having reached the final of the Carling Knockout Cup late last year.

So, if the Buccaneers are to finish the season on a high, getting past a formidable side such as Galaxy would be a job well done for coach Jose Riveiro and his team.

However, there’ll be more to Pirates’ visit to Mbombela. After all, this will be the same venue where they’ll face Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final on June 1.

The venue could favour Pirates, if history is anything to go by.

Sundowns lost to Galaxy in the Carling Knockout, on penalties, at the same stadium late last year.

And that’s not all. It was the same venue where Sundowns incredibly lost 3-0 to Wits in the MTN8 final eight years ago.

Despite beating Pirates twice in the league, Sundowns seem to battle whenever they meet the Sea Robbers in cup competitions.

The Brazilians lost to Pirates in last season’s MTN8 semi-final and this season’s final, with Sipho Chaine the hero in a penalty shoot-out in December.

Sure, they’ll carry those memories with them to Mbombela on June 1, but their bid will receive a huge morale boost if they win their last two matches in the league and finish second.

Right after facing Galaxy, Pirates will host SuperSport United in the last game of the league season at Orlando on May 25.

And with SuperSport also gunning for full points as they look to finish in the top eight, Pirates’ next three games will not be easy.

However, it is matches like these that will prove their mettle, especially with the hope of returning to the continent next season after losing to Jwaneng Galaxy in the CAF Champions League preliminary round this season.

Riveiro has reiterated that his team are picking up form at the right time, and he didn’t fault his troops for their effort in the loss to the Natal Rich Boyz.

However, Pirates must bring their scoring boots in the last three games.

Tshegofatso Mabasa was a surprise omission from Bafana Bafana’s preliminary squad announced yesterday to face Nigeria and Zimbabwe next month in the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

However, the league’s top goalscorer with 15 so far can’t despair and rest on his laurels as there are bigger fish to fry.

With Iqraam Rayners breathing down his neck only one goal behind, Mabasa is three goals shy of matching Lesley Manyathela’s 18-goal tally in a single league season.

And with the Golden Boot named after the late Pirates striker, who died in a tragic car accident in 2003, it would be befitting for Mabasa to match his tally, wouldn’t it?

However, he’ll need everyone to come to the party and supply him with the assists, while Chaine has to do his part between the sticks as well.

Riveiro has themed the last three games as finals. And with the first final in Mbombela on Saturday, it will be fitting for the team to start winning there and take real confidence into the last final on June 1.