The Buccaneers’ bid to secure a place in Africa next season is again under threat from another mid-table side
Baroka FC coach Thoka Matsimela feels that they are in better standing, fitness-wise and psychologically, than Orlando Pirates ahead of the two sides’ Premier Soccer League clash at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday.
The Limpopo side, ninth on the PSL table, host a Pirates side placed fourth and battling to secure a spot in the top three as they are tied on 46 points with Golden Arrows in third.
Matsimela says they would want to take advantage of the Soweto giants who, of late, have been involved in a punishing fixture schedule and are reeling from the frustration of losing to TS Galaxy last Sunday.
“We have not played for more than a week, so we believe we have more energy than them and we have to use it in the match against Pirates,” Matsimela told SowetanLive.
“They will play three matches in less than seven days, which will be difficult for them as you have seen some players were limping against Galaxy and I believe they will be tired. But we still need to work hard. We know Pirates have quality players and can surprise you at any time.
“If you can relax and say they will be tired, we will get punished. We have to be ready for any player they will put [on the field]. It also gives us motivation going into this match that when a team loses, we think their spirit is still down and we must capitalise on that. Unlike when they’ve won and come with confidence and say we can win this one.
“They are angry and will be coming at us with all guns blazing.”
While Pirates are coming from a shock defeat in Mpumalanga, they come up against a Baroka team which has not lost in their last three matches.
The Limpopo outfit still has a chance to end the season in the top half as they are just two points behind eighth-placed TS Galaxy.
“We are ready for them and we saw how they play. We need to make sure we don’t lose the match as long as we are playing at home,” Matsimela said.
“If you look at both matches they played against AmaZulu and Galaxy, their approach is not the same. If you check their line-up, they changed in both games.
“They didn’t play the same in both fixtures. Against AmaZulu they had a lot of energy, but against Galaxy they didn’t show the same. Galaxy scored early in the match but Bucs failed to equalise and they were struggling.”
After facing Baroka in this penultimate league fixture of the season, Pirates host Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in their final match of the campaign.