Pirates welcome Chilli Boys for season opener

Pirates welcome Chilli Boys for season opener
Mpho Makola of Orlando Pirates fouls Mpho Mvelase of Chippa United during the 2016/17 Absa Premiership football match between Orlando Pirates and Chippa United at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 29 April 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 17, 2017. 11:30

Orlando Pirates and Chippa United will look to get off to a flying start in the 2017/18 Absa Premiership when they meet at Orlando Stadium on 19 August 2017, kick-off at 18h00.

Pirates are in need of a strong campaign, having endured a hugely disappointing season last term. The Buccaneers failed to finish in the top eight for the first time in PSL history and ended off the season with a crushing defeat at the hands of SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final.

Pirates bid farewell to coach Kjell Jonevret in the offseason and have replaced him with highly regarded Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic. ‘Micho’ returns to Bucs for a second spell, having been in charge of the club for half a season back in 2006/07.

Chippa United also had a difficult 2016/17 season and only avoided finishing in the relegation zone thanks to a superior goal difference. The club’s chopping and changing of coaches through the season didn’t help their cause, but they appear to have settled on Dan Malesela - for now at least.

The Chilli Boys have lost some key figures in the transfer market, particularly influential midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni, but the acquisition of the likes of Brighton Mhlongo and Moketsi Sekola serves to strengthen their squad.

Pirates and Chippa have met in eight league matches since the 2012/13 season (when the latter first played in the top flight) and the rivalry has been a closely fought one: the Buccaneers have four wins compared to three for the Chilli Boys, while just one match ended in a draw.

Pirates have won three of their four home matches against Chippa, including a 2-1 triumph in the second half of last season, thanks to goals from Thamsanqa Gabuza and Thabo Matlaba. This saw the Soweto side complete a league ‘double’, as they also won 1-0 in the Eastern Cape earlier in the campaign.

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