Orlando Pirates' Nedbank Cup preparations hampered by flu outbreak
Posted: 12 March 2018 Time: 15:36
Orlando Pirates have been rocked by an outbreak of flu amongst their players, but coach Milutin Sredojevic is confident his charges will recover in time for this week’s travels.
The Buccaneers are on the road in back-to-back fixtures as they face Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup Last 16 on Wednesday evening, before visiting Golden Arrows for an Absa Premiership meeting on Saturday.
Things are heating up in the Pirates goalkeeping department, with Siyabonga Mpontshane having done well in Jackson Mabokgwane’s place in their previous encounter, while Wayne Sandilands is also fighting his way back from a broken finger.
‘Micho’ admits they face somewhat of a headache now but refused to disclose whether any change is expected in goal for their next clash, insisting that a decision will be left until the final moment.
“Wayne will be back next week, but equally standing in line for Wednesday’s game are Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane,” confirmed Sredojevic.
“We shall see regarding who will play, bearing in mind that just three days later we have another game against Golden Arrows, so we need to take it not only as one match but a block of matches in a period of three days.
“We shall plan accordingly and decide before Wednesday what we will be doing in that regard.”
Having last been in action in the Soweto Derby nine days ago, a lack of action and inconsistent weather conditions in Johannesburg, meanwhile, have hampered the Bucs’ preparations.
However, the Serbian says the fighting spirit within the camp has been that of ‘Black Panthers’, and necessary precautions have been taken which will allow the technical team to field a strong side in Cape Town.
“Regarding the medical situation, I don’t know about other teams but we have had an outbreak of flu that has seen some of the players sit out,” he added.
“But I’m happy and proud that we are working with players in the shape of black panthers – even Happy [Jele, who was sitting alongside Micho] has a bit of flu but he worked through, while others we have kept aside. I believe we’ll manage it.”
Derby hero Luvuyo Memela sat out of the session at the Rand Stadium on Monday morning, but the coach assured that the winger would be in contention for the next game.
“Memela got a knock and it’s just precautionary. Other than that, we are all fully focussed on the upcoming match and I have nothing else to add,” Sredojevic concluded.
Kick-off at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday has been set for 19h30.