The injury list at Orlando Pirates is so long that co-coach Mandla Ncikazi forgets some of the players who won’t be available in the first Soweto derby of the season against nemesis Kaizer Chiefs in a DStv Premiership tie at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Ncikazi confirmed that Happy Jele, who got stretched out during the team’s previous game against Sekhukhune United is definitely out for the meeting against Amakhosi, while the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch are working their way into recovery.
And even though the situation is worrying, the Pirates mentor hopes that things will get better in time for his team.
“Please forgive me if I forget some, that’s how much we have in terms of injuries. Richard Ofori is still out, Wayne Sandilands is recovering from an injury. Innocent Maela is still out, Jele is out and he has done his operation. Zakhele Lepasa is going through rehab, Lorch is also going through rehab,” the Bucs coach revealed during the Soweto derby press conference on Thursday.
“For us it’s just a whole team list that is on the outside, without complaining. It happens in every club but ours is extraordinary. But we are going to go through it, and maybe good things are going to follow afterwards for us with injuries.”
The Buccaneers head into this clash with their tails high following their 2-1 victory over Babina Noko thanks to goals by Linda Mntambo and Kabelo Dlamini. But he believes there is still more that the team needs to work on, especially in terms of scoring goals up-front.
“Now we are struggling a bit with an attacking third. We are creating chances but there’s one part that’s left – that’s putting the ball in the net. We are a work in progress, but we are getting there. I am 80% satisfied.”
Bucs will have to bring their A-game against an unpredictable Chiefs side, who have shown glimpses of quality in some of their games. But, Ncikazi will be putting his faith in a player like Mntambo to flourish for the club. The 32-years old has been very influential in the last three consecutive games that he has featured for the club.