ORLANDO Pirates caretaker coach Rhulani Mokwena says he is not worried about facing fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs without his influential captain Happy Jele and key defender Mthokozisi Dube.
The two giants will battle it out in the Absa Premiership Soweto derby at FNB Stadium on Saturday (3pm). Bucs will be eager to avenge their 4-2 defeat on penalties in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals in Durban last weekend.
Jele was sent-off following a rough tackle on Maritzburg United striker Thabiso Kutumela on the hour-mark in their goalless drawn league game played at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday, while Dube was given a red-card against Amakhosi.
Said Mokwena: “It seems like the universe is asking me to live up to my name Mlungisi (Fix-it) because last week we got the suspension of (Thembinkosi) Lorch and (Mthokozisi) Dube and at the end of the game the universe said Lungisa Mlungisi (Fix-Mr Fixit). We go to this game we get a red card (Jele) again Umlungisi ku mele a lungise (Mr Fixit must resolve the problem). It’s not a blow because we have 34 capable players at Pirates and sometimes they say one man’s poison is another man’s meat.”
Mokwena hopes his charges will be able to find the back of net on Saturday having missed plenty of chances against The Team of Choice as winger Gabadinho Mhango hit the inside of the crossbar. “The players did everything they could to get a result and again the same problem where we created a lot of chances. Normally when you get a chance like that you need to put it in the back of the net. There is a ripple effect not just from a tactical perspective, but from a psychological perspective because it puts players under a bit of pressure and it could be deadly particularly with the (tough) season we are having. We want to win more games than what we are winning, but we are undefeated in 18 games at home, we only lost twice out of 36 games since 2016.
Despite the setback, Mokwena is positive that his side will improve their position on the log.
“Bucs are sitting in seventh position and are nine points behind leaders Amakhosi who have 13 points from 10 matches. But Chiefs have a game in hand.
“We dropped two points because of the way we played particularly in the second half. It is what it is, we will keep going to try turn the level of our performance into expected results because coaches are judged on results not performance to ensure we get a better position on the log.”