Orlando Pirates will have the edge over Stellenbosch FC at Orlando Stadium

Orlando Pirates will have the edge over Stellenbosch FC at Orlando Stadium

Stellenbosch FC travel to face Orlando Pirates in a DStv Premiership encounter on Sunday afternoon at Orlando Stadium.

This will be a big ask for Stellenbosch as they will be without star midfielder Junior Mendieta, who is serving a one-match suspension and has scored five goals so far. Stellies have also been struggling form-wise having not won in their last five matches with three draws and two losses.

In their last outing on 14 January, Stellies lost 1-0 against Sekhukhune United. The last time Stellenbosch won a league game was in October 2022 when they saw off Maritzburg United 3-0.

Home side Pirates had also been going through a rough time having lost three matches in a row, but in their last league match on 14 January they defeated Golden Arrows 3-1 at Orlando Stadium.

Stellies coach Steve Barker's side don't have a good record against Pirates only having beaten them once in eight games and have just one win in eight games when playing away from home.

Barker acknowledges they just need to work on being more clinical in the 18-yard area.

"You have to get in the box first so we're doing that right, now it's obviously just finding ways to convert those box entries into goals and shots on target," Barker said.

"I think our return for goals scored is not the worst in the league (16 from 17 games), it's just sometimes conceding those type of goals that we just have to be a little better at."

The players that make Stellenbosch tick are winger Devon Titus, who is difficult to contend with for defenders and attacking midfielder Antonio Van Wyk, who is in for suspended Mendieta. Van Wyk as scored two goals and two assists in 12 games.

The big news on Thursday was Pirates confirming the signing of Coton Sport forward Souaibou Marou on a two-year-deal.

The 22-year-old was signed to bolster Pirates in attack having only found the back of the net 13 times in 16 league matches.

Marou joined his teammates on Tuesday but its not known of he will be available for selection for Sunday's match.

Bucs coach Jose Riveiro admits the recent poor results affected both him and his players but insists they are all focused on improving.

"They know who they are, they know where they are playing and we all know we need to do our best because there's a lot of eyes following us, monitoring us," Riveiro said.

"So we're in a team that cannot have a break. If we speak about performance, they are good competitors. One of the things we do during the week in almost every exercise, in every scenario, is compete.

"When we don't win, they don't sleep. If I don't win, I don't have dinner, I don't have sleep, I don't have breakfast. I have nothing you know, it's too much sometimes."

For Pirates, Monnapule Saleng seems to get better every time he plays on the wing and scored on their last outing against Arrows and gave the assist for Terrence Dzvukamanja to score.

The Buccaneers will no doubt keep everybody waiting to see if new signing Souaibou Marou will be in the squad.