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Dont write Bucs off - Njenje 25/02/04
Orlando Pirates caretaker-coach Augusto Palacios has assured the clubs fans that the Sea Robbers are still in the running to defend their Castle Premiership title despite trailing log leaders Santos by five points.

"It is far too early to worry about who will win the league title, Palacios told the Daily Sun on Wedensday. We have not given up hope as we are going into an important phase of the season.

There are plenty of big games ahead and leading teams will drop points along the way.

The Peoples Team, who have 40 points from 21 games, are followed by Ajax Cape Town (39 from 18), Kaizer Chiefs (37 from 16) and Moroka Swallows (36 from 19).

Pirates are fifth with 35 points from 21 starts.

Palacios remains optimistic as there is a long way to go.

"Teams are not only fighting for the championship but there are also teams fighting for a place in the Top 8 and relegation, so there are tough times ahead for all teams," he said.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers tackle Wits University on Wednesday buoyed by the return of national under-23 stars Benedict Vilakazi, Joseph Makhanya and Edward Malinga who all did duty with Amaglug-glug in Zambia.

"The last thing I will do is put pressure on my players to win the league. All I ask of them is to continue picking up points, Palacios told the Daily Sun.

Wits host Pirates at the Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney.

Kick is scheduled for 20h00.

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