Orlando Pirates will not have it easy in their MTN8 quarterfinal showdown with Highlands Park this weekend, this according to coach Owen Da Gama.
Highlands will meet Pirates by virtue of finishing in seventh position in the Absa Premiership last season, with the Soweto giants gaining home advantage due to their runners-up finish.
The past five meetings between these two sides also signal a tough encounter on the cards for The Buccaneers, who last registered a win over The Lions of the North in their very first meeting in 2016.
Nonetheless, Da Gama is wary of the wound sustained by Pirates in their last two matches and expects a resurgence much in the way Kaizer Chiefs showed in their opening league encounter a fortnight ago.
“A very, very big match for us against Pirates – they are a big team, there’s no doubt about it; they’re a quality team,” said Da Gama.
“Once again, we played against Chiefs after they lost [in the Carling Black Label Cup] and they came back and there was a backlash.
“So, I think it’s going to be very tough after Pirates lost [to SuperSport United] on Wednesday and they’ll come back much stronger in order to redeem themselves.
“But we’ve worked very, very hard this past week and we’ve tried to fix up and tried to improve on our performance against Maritzburg United.
“But for us, when you play Pirates or one of the bigger teams, it’s self-motivational and the players all want to do well against Pirates, so it’s going to be an interesting match.”