Bucs, Chiefs fans for Chatsworth clash

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And it is not the prospect of clash between the Soweto giants that will attract them because the local football authorities have been shrewd enough to separate the two arch-rivals at the semifinal stage.

Also, the Durbanites have had the foresight to stage the competition in such a way that it will end just more than an hour before Saturday’s Afcon encounter kicks off in Kumasi with Egypt against Sudan and Zambia against Cameroon.

The crunch factor at Chatsworth will be the fact that both Chiefs and Pirates will be without a number of their key players, while their opponents, AmaZulu and Golden Arrows will be almost at full strength.

Because of this, fans will want to be at the stadium to gauge the depth of their favourites going into the second round of the Absa Premiership.

Chiefs will be minus their first choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and quick-silver winger Siphiwe Tshabalala when they meet Abafana Bes’thende as the pair are away in Ghana for the Afcon with Bafana Bafana. Veteran striker Shaun Bartlett is also doubtful, according to reports.

According to Pirates’ website, they are worse off, though, without Teko Modise and Excellent Walaza.

They will also be minus first choice keeper Senzo Meyiwa, left-back Innocent Mdledle, midfielder Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi and striker Lebohang Mokoena.

Defender Destin Makita has also been ruled out of the weekend’s tournament with a thigh muscle strain.

AmaZulu halted Pirates six-game unbeaten run during December and the prospect of the Gauteng side extracting revenge at the weekend appear slim, but Bucs’ technical team, who are likely to be without coach Owen da Gama due to the death of his father, are not overly concerned.

They say the match will be a barometer to gauge how far they have come with rectifying some of the mistakes that crept into their game towards the end of last year.

They also want to assess whether they can hold their own against some physical sides in the League as they need to beat any kind of opponent if they are to lift the championship at the end of the season.

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