Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
16 Dec 2021
1:09 pm

They are not invincible, says Ncikazi ahead of Sundowns showdown

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Sundowns sit comfortably at the summit with 40 points after 16 games, 15 points ahead of second placed Chiefs, while Pirates are third with 24 points from the same amount of games.

Kabelo Dlamini of Orlando Pirates and Neo Maema of Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Another tough encounter lies ahead for Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership when they visit Mamelodi Sundowns at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday, but Bucs co-coach Mandla Ncikazi is adamant that they can beat Downs if his charges are on top of their game.

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The clash against the league leaders comes after the Buccaneers had it tough against neighbours Swallows FC, where they drew 1-1 last Tuesday.

“It’s an uphill battle, you can imagine you are playing the derby today (Tuesday), and you are playing the log leaders Sundowns (in the next couple of days) who are doing well. But Pirates must rise, Sundowns are playing well and they are doing well. But I don’t think they are invincible or immortal. It’s possible to beat them, but you have to bring your best game to beat such a good side,” said the Bucs mentor.

Looking at their game against the Birds, Ncikazi wasn’t impressed with the way his team played, but says the game plan worked in the early moments of the game as they scored first. But, Swallows later leveled matters.

“That’s what we planned, we always try to simulate, and we want to score early. If we play the way we are playing, because we want dominance of the ball, use the ball on attack, you want to prefer scoring first. Because if you play a team that sits in the block it suits them when they score first,” he added.

“I think what we planned happened, but what happened after…I saw our team moving back to zone three, even zone two. They were not applying pressure on the ball, they were allowing crosses to come in. not the best of performances in that department, but again, I still think we deserved to win.”

The Bucs co-coach will certainly be hoping for a much better performance against a high flying Sundowns, who are sitting comfortably at the summit of the league table with 40 points after 16 games, 15 points ahead of second placed Kaizer Chiefs.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are occupying third place on the log with 24 points from the same amount of games.