Orlando Pirates’ Soweto Derby Press Conference – As it happened!

Fadlu Davids, assistant coach of Orlando Pirates (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids was speaking on Tuesday ahead of the Soweto derby, a crunch Absa Premiership clash with Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday at FNB Stadium.

READ MORE: Pirates are not in the title race, says Bucs captain Jele

Davids: If we get three points it will make things more interesting for Sundowns! They will be one point behind, I think they will win their match … it is the first time I hear we are favourites (for the derby). We are not favourites and have to motivate our players to believe they can win the game. We have been on a run but … we don’t see ourselves as favourites. Chiefs are so flexible … and we have to be prepared for all situations.

Davids (on the title race) – If you talk about last season we won five out of six games and drew with Cape Town City (a result that ended up costing Pirates the title). Since the coach (Zinnbauer) came we have won six and drawn one out of seven … (but) we are not thinking about the title race, it is the biggest mistake we can make, teams have games in hand on us … to win the next game is the most important for us.

Davids (On Mabaso): He has been in form and is second top scorer after Gaba, but so it is for other players. Justin Shonga, Zakhele Lepasa, the competition is high and that has been our advantage, Gaba knows if he drops his guard another player can come in.

Fadlu Davids: We wanted to be in the next round of the Nedbank but we have to deal with what have right now. If you play a friendly before the derby the players are going to give ten percent less because they don’t want to get injured! We are at a bit of a disadvantage but we have to get ready for the next match. The advantage … is that some players recover from injury and you get players who are fresher.

Fadlu Davids (on the turning point for Pirates) – I don’t think you can really put it down to one thing. Zinnbauer has to get a lot of credit, but of course everything gets a part, you can’t discredit oach Micho, you can’t discredit Rulani, and the players, they said it’s time we start getting results. We went through a very rocky start in the beginning, the coach (Zinnbauer) deserves a lot of credit for stabilising and putting a clear structure in. He has so many (more) ideas he wants to implement, but he is using his experience to see what is necessary at this point in time.

Happy Jele: We are looking forward to this one, we are just looking for three points as a team. We don’t have to play the occasion, we just have to play the game.

Davids on his former players at Maritzburg Fortune Makaringe and Siphesihle Ndlovu: It’s different for each player coming to a big club, some need more time, some can come in and adapt. Fortune is not playing at his best, there is some potential we can unlock, and the same with Ndlovu … (he is) not near half his potential. There is so much to come out of all the new players … Kabelo Dlamini, Gabadinho Mhango, Tshegofatso Mabaso, and changing three coaches in one season also gives the player more time to showcase their true potential.

Fadlu Davids on Middendorp and Zinnbauer – They both come out of the same football school, focused on verticality. Ernst has changed over the years, always kept up with the trends, to say Ernst the same as when I met him, not for me to say … the things he has done, picked up and developed are completely different to when I worked with him. Both have the same willingness to win, when it comes to a training session and exercise, a card game out of it, whatever. But you cannot compare the two – they are both good coaches, they both have their pro license out of the same university, but they are both completely different in how they approach things.

Fadlu Davids: The derby is a special day in South Africa, not only South African football … our coach is experienced enough having played big derbies in his career … he knows it, but of course you get special players that come to the fore … that have the big match temperament that have the feeling for coming into the pitch … and just go out there and perform. It is about finding those players that can win you the derby. You get out there, you are on the pitch and the tactical instruction stops.

Fadlu Davids: It’s quite clear they (Chiefs) have a number one, and that’s Akpeyi. We are not going into the game relaxing because we have won a couple of games in a row, we approach the game with a new slate, we are not talking about the title race. The title race is for Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits.

Fadlu Davids: Chiefs are actually the in-form team, they lost one game in the league, the game before that was against SuperSport … the other thing is, do you really read into form when it comes to a derby. I think their coach (Ernst) Middendorp will be calm … and I expect them firing. We will have to be at our best to get the three points. Not for one second are we going into the game underestimating Chiefs.

Wayne Sandilands: I think the coach has said it, as difficult as it may be it is about trying to treat this match as a normal match. We know what it means to the supporters … to the standings, but for us as supporters we have to treat it as a match with three points available too much. We haven’t done anything different (in training).

Fortune Makaringe: It is credit to the whole team, because the fire and desire sparking in the team has been one of a kind, what you can expect is the same Orlando Pirates that always wants to win.

Happy Jele: Everyone is motivated for this game.

Fadlu Davids: It is important that we approach the week like a normal week, preparation has gone well so far … how we want to approach the game, we know the strength of the appointment, and how we want to exploit them.

Right, we are now ready to go – at the press conference today are assistant coach Fadlu Davids, captain Happy Jele, goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands and midfielder Fortune Makaringe.

There appears to be a delay to the start of the press conference proper….

There is also an Ultra Music Festival happening at Nasrec on Saturday, so that adds yet more reason to ARRIVE EARLY.

People without tickets at the venue will be arrested, is one of the final messages from this presser. We’ll be back when Zinnbauer speaks shortly.

Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson for the JMPD, is now talking about traffic arrangements for the game. Honestly, the best advice I can give, having been to the derby for 20 years, is ARRIVE EARLY, or there is pretty much a guaranteed traffic mess at FNB Stadium.

The basic message is that you MUST buy your ticket for the derby from Computicket, the official ticket seller for the derby.

The PSL General Manager now addresses the matter of fake tickets, saying there are organised crime syndicates involved in the production of thousands of fake tickets.

Grobbelaar stresses the importance of fans arriving at least one hour before kick off, with the late arrival of fans a constant problem at the derby over the years.

There is a brief introductory press conference, with Jacques Grobbelaar, the general manager of safety and security for the Premier Soccer League, talking about how they are going to make sure all is well at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Orlando Pirates press conference, ahead of arguably the most important Soweto derby in some time, with both the Buccaneers and Kaizer Chiefs in running for the Absa Premiership title.

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