For me, it’s about the team. The scoring is just a bonus. I will work to see where I can assist. I want to work to make sure that we can get a good result against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
HAVING firmly established himself as a goalscoring midfielder of note in recent times, Orlando Pirates’ newest star Bandile Shandu insists that the team should always come first before he chases any personal accolades.
The 27-year-old has found the back of the net in three out of his team’s last five games in all competitions. Notably, he struck a brace in their 3-2 Caf Confederation Cup win over Al-Ittihad two weeks ago.
And he believes he did not do it without the help of his teammates.
“For me, it’s about the team. The scoring is just a bonus. I will work to see where I can assist. I want to work to make sure that we can get a good result against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday. If we get the three points, I will be more than happy regardless of whether I score,” said Shandu.
While the Soweto derby remains one of Africa’s, if not the world’s most fiercest football rivalries, it has come under fire in recent years particularly since the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown two years ago. The bashing of the Soweto derby has coincided with both clubs struggling for consistency on the field.
Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids believes that the spectacle will return to what it was known for once fans are allowed to return to stadiums.
“The supporters make the Soweto derby. Having experienced the last couple of derbies without an atmosphere, it’s completely different. The derby fever is still there, but the spectacle on the pitch is different. A hollow stadium makes it completely different. In the previous derbies where there were fans, you could not hear yourself speak. The players had to show their mental attitude. Small tactical elements can now be fixed with an empty stadium,” said Davids.
Davids confirmed that defender Thulani Hlatswayo is injury-free and available for selection. This comes amidst the veteran missing recent games. He also gave an injury update on attacker Vincent Pule.
“Pule had a set-back after getting a clearance. He had a tricky surgery on a muscle. It is a muscle that has been operated on, so we are being cautious. He will have to undergo another few weeks of rehabilitation. Hopefully, we will have him back by early April or late March,” said Davids.
With the Premiership title virtually won by runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, the best that the Buccaneers can hope for now is a second-place finish, which would earn them the right to play in next season’s Caf Champions League. To achieve that, they will need to start converting draws to wins in their last nine games of the season.