Orlando Pirates midfielder Xola Mlambo is well aware of the expectations from the club’s supporters ahead of the Soweto derby against kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium tomorrow, but the Bucs fan favourite knows very well that things can turn out so differently.
Bucs have dominated the last three fixtures between the two teams and have set themselves up as Absa Premiership title contenders while having a good run in the Caf Champions League.
However, Mlambo believes Saturday’s fixture against Amakhosi will be totally different, with the Glamour Boys coming with a new coach Ernst Midderndorp, whom Mlambo believes has turned things around at the club.
“They have been playing very good football and dominating in most of their games. They have just been unfortunate that they have not been able to come out with a win in every one of their games. Football is a game of mistakes; you make one mistake and get caught in it. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are a good side. They have good players, a good coach and they have been doing pretty well, so you give them the respect that they deserve, but again, you focus on your team and make sure you give out your best,” said the midfielder.
“This is a different atmosphere. We are not going to play the occasion, you have to play the game. Yes, we have won the last three games, but they have a different coach now and each and every player wants to impress. So, they are going to come out with guns blazing because they are playing at home.”
Bucs go into this game having dropped to third spot on the league table and they now trail leaders Bidvest Wits by five points, but Mlambo says it is not a big deal and believes Bucs still have a chance to clinch the title.
“You can’t finish the marathon having only run half the race. We would be concerned if only it was the last game of the league. But now with the way things are standing, every team has about 10 to 11 games they have to play and we have to focus on every game we have to play.”