Chippa and Pirates to meet in EL

Chippa United owner Siviwe Mpengesi said his club is taking their Absa Premiership fixture against Orlando Pirates to East London on May 11.

The fixture against Pirates, along with the Kaizer Chiefs match, are considered glamour home fixtures and the move will come as a major surprise to Bay fans, who were expected to file into the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Stadium in their thousands.

In stark contrast, East London fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of seeing the Buccaneers in action.

After their recent 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in their last league fixture, Mpengesi announced to the media the team would be taking five of their home games to East London in the new year.

The first match to be taken there was meant to be the Wits clash next Sunday. But it seems some administrative issues have forced the club to bring the game back to NMB Stadium.

Mpengesi said the PSL had approved the Buffalo City Stadium following a series of upgrades in order to comply with standards.

Chippa interim coach Dan Malesela first let the cat out of the bag saying the Wits game would be played in Port Elizabeth.

“That is something the administration side is handling but the first game will be played in PE. We are not going to East London,” he said. “The other games might be in East London.”

Mpengesi, however, was clearer in his reply yesterday.

“I have a list of games that will be played that side. Our games against Ajax Cape Town, Jomo Cosmos, Platinum Stars, Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates will all be played in East London.”

Chippa United have cut their league break short and are back in training in preparation for the second leg of the season.

But Malesela said not all of the players were back at training yet.

“We have started training. We are only working on the fitness level of the players. We just wanted to secure these three days before New Year’s so players can go into the holiday at least having something in terms of the fitness level.

“We have lined up five sessions which will help a lot. They will break again tomorrow and then come back on Saturday,” he said yesterday.

“Not all of the players are back. The foreign players are not here – particularly those from West Africa because their is a struggle with flights that side. But everybody should be here by next Tuesday.”

The former Cape Town All Stars coach said there is much work that needs to be done ahead of the Wits game.

“I am looking at having 15 training sessions with the team before the Wits game.”

Mpengesi has made it clear that the team’s mandate is to finish in the top eight this season.

They are currently ninth on the log with 16 points from 12 games.