11 September, 2022
The 2022/23 DStv Diski Challenge kicks off on a high note for Orlando Pirates Reserves as they take on their Kaizer Chiefs peers at King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.
The competition’s opening weekend features a number of potentially thrilling match-ups, with the Soweto Derby sure to draw the country’s attention, with the two traditional rivals providing a worthy show-stopper to the football festival in Umlazi.
The Bucs Reserves will be keen to put the heartbreak of the previous season behind them after faltering during the latter half of the campaign to eventually finish third in the standings, despite spending a vast period of time on the summit of the table.
This was followed by another disappointment as they failed to progress beyond the first round of the DStv Diski Shield, losing to DDC champions and eventual runners-up Stellenbosch.
Three points against their Soweto rivals will be paramount as the young Buccaneers attempt to avoid similar setbacks this time around, but it will be no easy feat against a side still on a high after their recent cup success.
The Chiefs Reserves were able to return from last season with a bit of silverware, going all the way to claim the Diski Shield title.
They will however also look to improve on their league finish, having been forced to settle for sixth place after inconsistent results throughout last season.
Both sides have undergone a number of changes since the previous campaign concluded, and a few fresh faces can be expected on Sunday.
Following their standout performances last season, key players such as Kopano Thuntsane, Boitumelo Radiopane and Thabiso Monyane have graduated to higher honours, and this has given some of the Club’s latest recruits a chance to stake their claim at starting spots early on in the current term.
The Buccaneers have secured the services of some of the country’s most promising youngsters’, with Gomolemo Khoto, Relebohile Ratomo and Lucky Bule all eyeing DDC debuts, along with striker Mehluleli Maphumulo, who featured for the Soweto Giants in the Diski Shield during the off-season.
According to coach Joseph Makhanya, the new season also presents some of the players who were previously on the fringes a chance to fight for bigger roles within the squad this time around.
“We have a team that’s currently under transition after more players went up to senior teams, and we also have players who didn’t get much game time last season,” the former Bucs winger told Orlandopiratesfc.com.
“So we’re trying to integrate them into the team and make sure that by the end of the season, they will have gotten a fair chance.
“We’ve seen this in the First Team, where they have a nice rotation going on, and we’re trying to do something similar to ensure that everybody gets an opportunity to play.”
Similarly, Amakhosi will be without some important players from the last term after several loan departures before the start of the new season.
Pirates Reserves could not get the upper hand over their Chiefs counterparts in their two attempts last season, going down 3-0 in the season opener before the two sides played to a goalless draw in April.
This brought to an end the Buccaneers’ three-game winning run in the Soweto Derby, where they had scored five unanswered goals.
Overall, the Bucs Reserves have won four of their last nine clashes with their Soweto rivals, drawing three times and losing twice.
How to Watch Orlando Pirates Reserves vs Kaizer Chiefs Reserves
The game is scheduled to kick off at noon and will be televised live on SuperSport Variety 4.
Live updates will be provided across Orlando Pirates social media platforms. Entry to the match venue is free.