Orlando Pirates have to score as much as they create, says Mandla Ncikazi
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Johannesburg — Orlando Pirates’ co-coach Mandla Ncikazi says if they converted their scoring chances as much as they created them, they would be able to turn their fortunes around after a roller-coaster outing in the first half of the domestic term.
Pirates currently occupy the seventh spot on the standings with 19 points, 11 behind log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. But that wasn’t part of the script, considering the fact that they were tipped to be one of the title contenders this season.
The Buccaneers' season got off to a chaotic start, with coach Josef Zinnbauer resigning after one match into the start. Enter Ncikazi and co-coach Fadlu Davids, they tried to stabilise the Sea Robbers' ship but they’ve come short so far.
Sure, they reached the group stage of Confederation Cup, but a lot of injury woes to key players have seen them struggle on a local front. And that’s why they’ll bank on the return of some of them to provide the scoring solution they need.
“Like I always said, if Pirates play the way they dominate, take the chances that they create, they’ve got a big chance of taking the three points. We’ve just got to be ruthless in front of goal,” the 52-year-old Ncikazi said this week, on Tuesday.
Pirates will need to put on their scoring boots as soon as this afternoon when they visit AmaZulu at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium. Just like the Buccaneers, Usuthu have been inconsistent after managing three wins, nine draws and two defeats.
The Benni McCarthy coached team endured another draw in the KwaZulu Natal derby against Royal AM on Saturday, albeit being the best team. That’s why Ncikazi feels that both teams are desperate and highly in need of points now.
“I think it’s two desperate teams, desperate for points. If you consider how AmaZulu played in the last match, which I think they should have won, they couldn’t score. And that was the same with us in our previous match,” Ncikazi said.
As much as they are desperate for points, Ncikazi has guard against putting too much pressure on the players as that might cause them to panic. Pirates will also need to start gelling together as a unit if they are going to unlock their opponents.
“The fact that we are desperate can also create panic around the players while we should be encouraging them to be more composed around the box. That’s the only way we’ll be able to take the chances that we create,” Ncikazi said.
Sure, against Baroka, Pirates created chances, forcing goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke into some fine saves but their finishing also let them down. That’s why they’ll need to come together to unlock a stubborn Usuthu defence away from home.
AmaZulu have the third best defensive record in the top-flight, but they’ve been struggling up front after scoring 11 goals. However, they will hope that the change in personnel could chipped in with the much-needed goals going forward.
New Zealander Andre de Jong has been leading Usuthu’s line of late, but he’s yet to repay the faith shown to him by McCarthy and his deputies. However, he'll know that there’d be no better time for him to open his account than this afternoon.