Heat on AmaZulu for Soweto clash

Heat on AmaZulu for Soweto clash
HAVING amassed just one win in 10 domestic football meetings against Orlando Pirates since 2013, AmaZulu will have a mountain to climb when they confront the Buccaneers at the Orlando Stadium this afternoon.

It’s been an astonishing six and a half years since Usuthu brought down the Sea Robbers in their own backyard, having won 1-0 in August 2013 in Soweto.

However, since then, Pirates have flipped the script, winning three matches, while the two teams further played draws in five more meetings.

Sure, that might be in the previous decade, but the fact that the two teams’ performances have been in stark contrast in the new decade should be a source of concern for Usuthu making the 600km trip from Durban to Soweto.

Coached by Jozef Vukusic, AmaZulu are bottom of the Premiership standings with 17 points this season - their only positive result this year being the 2-2 draw with Cape Town City, while they’ve lost to Sundowns, SuperSport and Maritzburg United.

So Usuthu have their backs to the wall in their bid to get themselves out of the relegation quagmire, especially with the other teams in the remaining 12 rounds of matches fighting for either for the championship, a Top Eight finish or just survival.

However, while AmaZulu’s season has undoubtedly been underwhelming - especially following the glimpses of resurgence under coach Cavin Johnson last term - there’s been an impressive outing from their main marksman.

Striker Bonginkosi Ntuli is already on double digits (10 goals) this season, his strikes coming off the 11-goal tally of the team in the league so far.

Add this to the fact that the former Sundowns man is just two goals shy of the league’s top goalscorer and Pirates’ marksman Gabadinho Mhango, who has scored eight goals under new coach Jozef Zinnbauer in the last five matches.

Captain Happy Jele, meanwhile, has shown glimpses of getting back to his best in the heart of Pirates’ defence in the last few matches, while the Buccaneers have arguably been the best team in top-flight football since the beginning of the year - having been unbeaten in the last four matches alongside Maritzburg, who’ve had two wins and two draws.