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SA SOCCER NEWS

Preview - Pirates v Swallows


The important thing about adversity is how you respond to it and after going through a nightmarish seven months, Orlando Pirates will be looking to new coach Bibey Mutombo to add impetus as they look to right the wrongs of the past.

The tough-talking DR Congo national has officially replaced Milutin Sredojevic as head coach, less than a month after arriving as the club's Technical Director.

A victory over Moroka Swallows, whom they meet in a Castle Premiership match at Ellis Park Stadium (kick-off 3.45pm) on Saturday, will certainly do the Soweto side a great deal of good.

Winless after five matches, 'The Buccaneers' are placed 13th in the Castle Premiership standings on 13 points, while Swallows, who notched their first victory of the New Year after ending log leaders Silver Stars' three-month unbeaten streak last weekend, are placed ninth on 24 points.

The 'Beautiful Birds' have played four matches more than their original Soweto Derby opponents.

"People have been saying all funny things about me; that I pushed Milutin out of his job, but that is not the truth," said Mutombo.

"The results were not forthcoming and with Pirates being a big brand, sweeping changes were expected. I have installed a lot of self-belief in the boys and it's a pity that people could not see a different Pirates side when the bad weather forced our game against Black Leopards to be abandoned.

"Swallows are a well balanced team and we all know what they can do.

"They beat Stars where most people did not believe but such is the fickle nature of football that we must respect them."

New Swallows hero Thulani 'Shaka' Ngcepe, who came on as a substitute to score the winner against Stars, has provided some more attacking prowess into 'The Birds' attack.

The winger has an electrifying pace and if not watched, could add more woes to the sloppy Pirates rearguard.

Even his coach Gavin Hunt has waxed lyrical about Ngcepe's talent: "What most surprise me about him is that he is down to earth and ready to learn.

"He doesn't have control problems - the ball remains on the upper part of his foot, like it is glued to it. He feels the ball, and that makes him different to the rest.:

Hunt knows that the 'Buccanneers' will be going all out for redemption; but remains confident that Swallows will do well.

"Pirates will be spitting fire - but we also want the three points badly," he said.

"The acquisition of Japhet Zwane, our returnee from Golden Arrows, will also give up much needed oomph in our quest to finish on top."

Key players:

 

Orlando Pirates - Benedict Vilakazi:
With Pirates going through a real nightmare at the moment, it is up to the dynamic Vilakazi to inspire his teammates to lift their level of performance.

Moroka Swallows - Thulani Ngcepe:
The young winger has already made a name for himself by downing log leaders Silver Stars and the challenge of Orlando Pirates could inspire him to even greater heights.

Statistics:

Orlando Pirates:

Current league position: 13th
Biggest victory: 2-0 v HP Silver Stars (h), October 21, 2006
Biggest defeat: 1-3 v Bloemfontein Celtic (a), January 14, 2007
Leading scorer(s): I Chansa (1 Telkom, 2 PSL), E Walaza (3 PSL), F Tefera (2 PSL, 1 Telkom), B Vilakazi (1 SAA, 2 PSL); three goals each.

Moroka Swallows:

Current league position: Ninth
Biggest victory: 2-0 v Santos (h), December 17, 2006
Biggest defeat: 0-4 v BidVest Wits (h), November 8, 2006
Leading scorer(s): M Niang (1 SAA, 3 PSL, 1 Telkom); five goals.

By Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix and PSL website

NEWS
- AmaZulu, SuperSport draw
- 'Rabbits' bounce back
- Ajax overpower Wits
- Sundowns demolish Arrows
- Pirates, Swallows draw
- Maritzburg and Santos draw
- Preview - Premier Utd v Celtic
- Bafana coach to arrive next week
- Preview - AmaZulu v SuperSport United
- Preview - Sundowns v Arrows
- Preview - Silver Stars v Leopards
- Preview - Ajax CT v Wits
- 'Birds' in Soweto derby
- Preview - Pirates v Swallows
- Preview - Cosmos v Chiefs
Sunday, January 28
Castle Premiership

Swallows v Premier United 
Kick-off: 3.45pm
Venue: Germiston Stadium

January 20
Castle Premiership
Draw 0-0 v Pirates
Venue: Ellis Park

January 14
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v Silver Stars
Venue: Germiston Stadium

January 10
Castle Premiership
Lost 0-1 v Supersport
Venue:
 Loftus Stadium

Sunday, January 7
Castle Premiership
Draw 2-2 v Leopards
Venue:
Germiston Stadium

Wednesday, December 20
Castle Premiership
Won 1-0 v AmaZulu
Venue: Princess Magogo

POLL
Which areas need reinforcement at Swallows?

Strike force
 37%
Midfield
 8%
Defence
 55%