For the first time in four years, the Buccaneers start their Nedbank Cup campaign against a lower division side
Orlando Pirates begin their bid for a second Cup this season when they host GladAfrica Championship side Uthongathi in a Nedbank Cup Last 32 match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
This is a trophy Pirates last lifted in 2014 under Vladimir Vermezovic.
After clinching the MTN8 earlier in the season, the Buccaneers would be keen to add to their trophy cabinet the Nedbank Cup.
Pirates are the second most successful side in South Africa’s premier knockout competition with eight titles after Kaizer Chiefs’ 13.
But they have to clear this first hurdle against Uthongathi who are a potential banana skin for them in this David against Goliath affair.
Game Orlando Pirates vs Uthongathi FC Date Saturday February 6 Time 15:00 SA Time TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch Online Streaming TV Channel DStv.com/DStv Now App SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202 Squads & Team News
Forwards Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa are edging closer to full fitness but are likely not to be available for selection on Saturday to afford coach Josef Zinnbauer more selection options upfront.
Defender Abel Mabaso is still out with a long-term injury.
After Zinnbauer was heavily criticised for benching centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo in their defeat at Golden Arrows on Tuesday, the Bafana Bafana captain should return against Uthongathi.
No injury updates from Uthongathi as they prepare to tackle a giant in South African football.
But coach Simo Dladla would need the likes of Zimbabwean forward Clive Augusto and midfielder Issa Sarr who both have PSL experience.
If available for selection, Sarr would be facing his former employers Pirates with whom he previously spent four seasons.
It is the first time ever for Pirates and Uthongathi to meet in any competition.
Pirates will know that they face a potential upset from a side that narrowly missed the PSL promotional play-off spot last season.
They are currently placed sixth on the GaldAfrica Championship and still within a chance of booking a Premier Soccer League ticket with just three points behind log leaders Sekhukhune United.
Saturday’s contest would see Pirates want to do better in this Cup than last season where they were eliminated at the Round of 32 stage by Bidvest Wits via a penalty shootout.
Zinnabauer oversaw that match during his early days into the Bucs job.
Uthongathi’s campaign last season also ended at the same stage after they were defeated by Highlands Park.
But now Zinnabauer and his men are out to end a seven year drought of the Nedbank Cup which they last won in 2014 by beating Bidvest Wits 3-1 in the final.
They go into Saturday’s match fresh from a 2-0 PSL defeat by Golden Arrows on Tuesday, three days after dismissing Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby.
That performance underlined their inconsistent performances this season, something that gives Uthongathi a hope of pulling an upset.
Uthongathi themselves arrive in Gauteng from KwaZulu-Natal on the backdrop of a defeat by JDR Stars which was their only loss in the last five games and their second of the season..