Orlando Pirates to take on struggling Richards Bay

Orlando Pirates to take on struggling Richards Bay

Richards Bay will have a battle on their hands when they host Orlando Pirates in a DStv Premiership match on Saturday afternoon.

Bucs are in good form, having won all three of their matches in March, and will be looking to climb up from third to second place in the standings with another win.

On the other hand, Richards Bay are struggling to find their footing, with six losses in their last eight games, which has seen them drop from second to sixth on the log.

This comes after the tragic death of captain Siphamandla Mtolo, which has affected the team's performance. Despite the challenges, Richards Bay coach Vasili Manousakis remains optimistic and has focused on the team's mental preparation to try and boost their confidence.

Pirates have welcomed back five players from international duty, including Deon Hotto, who represented Namibia, and four South African players. Bandile Shandu and Goodman Mosele are also expected to return to action soon, after spending some time on the sidelines. Monnapule Saleng, the team's top scorer with eight goals, and Kermit Erasmus, who has contributed one goal and four assists in 12 top-flight appearances, are two players to watch out for during Saturday's match.

The two sides met earlier in the season, and the game ended in a goalless draw at Orlando Stadium. This time around, Richards Bay will be without influential goalkeeper Salim Magoola, who is serving a two-match suspension after being red-carded in their previous game against Kaizer Chiefs.

Vasili Manousakis, Richards Bay coach, has been focused on mental preparation for much of the week, hoping to boost the team's confidence and get them back on track. The team has suffered a setback since the tragic loss of their captain, and have lost five matches in a row.

The coach has been working on getting the team together and building their morale. He has taken the team out for quad biking and hiking, as well as a trip to the beach to break from their usual routine. Manousakis is determined to finish the season in the top eight, despite the team's recent struggles.

"We are still in control, we're still in sixth place but if we don't turn it around soon enough ¦ for myself, I say if we don't end up in the top eight, then it's been a disastrous season, considering where we've been," Manousakis said.

With only seven games remaining in the season, every point counts for The Rich Boys. Manousakis knows that they are in for a fight, but he is confident that the team will rise to the occasion and finish the season strong.

The two sides have only met once before, and this will be the first time that Bucs will play as the away team. Pirates will be looking to continue their winning streak and solidify their position in the standings, while Richards Bay will be hoping to turn their fortunes around and get back to winning ways.