Chippa eye a first PSL win of the season

Bucs clash a chance for Chilli Boys to get their season back on track

Chippa United will be hoping that striker Rhulani Manzini (blue shirt) has the scoring touch when they take on Orlando Pirates in Soweto on Saturday.
Chippa United will be hoping that striker Rhulani Manzini (blue shirt) has the scoring touch when they take on Orlando Pirates in Soweto on Saturday.
Image: Gallo Images/ Michael Sheehan

Chippa United will have another crack at their first win of the season in the Absa Premiership when they take on Soweto giants Orlando Pirates on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium (kickoff 3pm).

The Chilli Boys have not had the best start to the league this season despite some promising play in their opening four games.

However, coach Clinton Larsen’s troops have only managed three draws and a loss in their games so far, leaving the Port Elizabeth-based professional team 13th on the Premiership log with just three points.

Chief among the team’s struggles has been their lack of goal scoring prowess, especially against teams that they should be targeting to beat.

In their opening game of the season against newly promoted Stellenbosch FC and their last outing against high flying Polokwane City, Chippa shot blanks and had to settle for 0-0 draws in both matches.

They did manage to find the back of the net in their second and third matches, but despite a solid 1-1 draw against defending champs Sundowns, they followed that up with a poor 2-1 loss to Golden Arrows in a game they really should have targeted for a win.

Despite the poor start, Larsen has remained positive and applauded his team’s play and efforts at goals after each game, believing that it is just a matter of time before the team registers their first three points.

Courtesy of the Fifa break, Chippa has had two weeks to refine their attack and shooting skills, and should look sharp come Saturday.

A win against Pirates could be just what the Chilli Boys need to kick-start a winning run in the league.

However, Chippa will not have it easy on Saturday as they are up against an equally needy Pirates team.

There has been a lot of turmoil at the Buccaneers camp after the sudden departure of head coach, Milutin Sredojevic.

Pirates blustered into the new season with a 3-1 win against Celtic but since then have struggled to secure a victory in three league matches, since coach Rulani Mokwena took over.

The Bucs coach says he’s had enough time to do a thorough analysis on Chippa.

“It’s [Chippa] a difficult team to analyse‚” said Mokwena.

“There’s two key thumbprints in them. There’s the [former Chippa coach] Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela approach‚ which is of a patient build-up and try to keep and retain possession.

“But at the very same time there’s the Clinton Larsen approach that is based on the reinforced defensive blocks being very resolute.”

The coach said he’s watched all the four league games Chippa have played and has noted the differences in approach in all those matches.

“We have been able to watch their last four games – against Polokwane [City]‚ against [Mamelodi] Sundowns… the 1-1 draw with [Meshack] Maphangule scoring where they played extremely different to how they played against Golden Arrows and how they played against Stellenbosch‚” he said.

“They’ve got certain traits that are consistent. They’ve got certain patterns of play that are consistent and they’ve got a lot of strength in Lerato and Rhulani Manzini.”

But the Bucs coach insisted that‚ having done his homework‚ his charges should be able to get their second win of the season.

“We know the influence that Kurt Lentjies has on the team and we know the influence that Andile Mbenyane has on the team when he plays‚” Mokwena said.

“But they play a little different too when they have William Twala and [Thabo] ‘Jomo’ Rakhale on the pitch as opposed to when they have Kurt and Mbenyane playing behind Manzini.

“We also know some of their strengths and weaknesses. So my players know what I know and what we’re trying to do.” – Additional reporting by Sazi Hadebe, TimesLIVE

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