orlando pirates

Gabadinho Mhango of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards on 21 December 2019 at Orlando Stadium, Pic BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates title chances: Final eight fixtures analysed

Orlando Pirates have fallen off the pace after their Soweto Derby defeat but remain an outside shot at the Premiership title.

orlando pirates

Gabadinho Mhango of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards on 21 December 2019 at Orlando Stadium, Pic BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates have made themselves an outside bet to win the PSL title thanks to a superb recent run under coach, Josef Zinnbauer.

With eight PSL matches left, we look at their remaining fixtures and see how they can try to catch Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, who are in front of them on the PSL log.

Golden Arrows (away)

This is a really tough match on the road for Pirates, who will face a Steve Komphela team who knows how to study their opponents and nullify their strengths. Bucs only managed eight shots in a 0-0 draw with Arrows in the reverse fixture, but have won their last two away fixtures against Abafana Besthende. Their troubles against these opponents are often at home where they have drawn 0-0 on three consecutive occasions.

Mamelodi Sundowns (away)

This is a massive game to be played on a Tuesday night. Pirates need to go for the three points, and losing this game would almost certainly end their title hopes with the gap between the sides increasing to five points and having played two games more than Downs (not to mention the gap to Chiefs possibly increasing). Playing in the evening should help Pirates keep up a high intensity and they are capable of winning this match. A draw would suit Kaizer Chiefs and not really help either of these teams.

Mamelodi Sundowns title chances

orlando pirates
Josef Zinnbauer coach of Orlando Pirates urges his side on. Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Bidvest Wits (home)

The Clever Boys recently beat Pirates on penalties in the Nedbank Cup after a 3-3 draw, whilst they beat Bucs 4-3 in the reverse league fixture in September. However, the way that Pirates dominated large parts of that Nedbank Cup game will give the side real belief of winning this game against a Wits side who look fatigued after a CAF Confederations Cup campaign and look to have eased off in league action.

Baroka (home)

Bakgaka have lost their last three league games, but face relegation rivals in AmaZulu and Black Leopards before travelling to Pirates. They could either be in dire relegation trouble going into that match, or have picked up the points to have lifted their confidence. Either way, Pirates need to improve on their 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture where they threw away a 2-0 lead. This is simply a game where Bucs can’t entertain anything less than a win.

Orlando Pirates challenging run-in

Cape Town City (away)

City represents something of a bogey team of late for Pirates having drawn 2-2 to cost Bucs the league title last May, whilst drawing 3-3 when the sides met earlier this season. Their speed in attack usually unsettles Bucs’ ageing defence, but Kermit Erasmus will be missing with injury for this match and the side have looked much more passive under Jan Olde Riekerink. Therefore, Bucs should have nothing to fear in this game and be able to revel in the space afforded to them.

SuperSport United (home)

Matsatsantsa are another side who tend to cause Pirates big problems with their ability to play direct football to great effect and nullify the midfield of Bucs. This looks like a tough game and a potential slip-up for Pirates, but it’s a game they have to win to have any prayer of winning the league. Having to attack will suit SuperSport’s preference for a counter attacking game.

Maritzburg United (away)

Like Sundowns, Pirates still have to go away to Maritzburg United, a side famed for their home form at Harry Gwala Stadium. This will be a very difficult second-last game if Pirates are still in the title race by then, but if they have strung together the results to close the gap to Chiefs and Downs, then they will have real momentum coming into this game. Perhaps the confidence gained from a winning run will help to break down one of the league’s best defences (and one which held Pirates to a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture).

ben motshwari
Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Chippa United and Orlando Pirates at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth on 01 February 2020 ©Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Stellenbosch (home)

Stellenbosch have caused Pirates some real problems this season by playing ultra-defensively and allowing Bucs lots of the ball. This won’t be easy game but Stellies should be safe from relegation by the time it is played and Pirates are likely to have enough to win by a couple of goals at home.


This looks to be a very tough run-in for Pirates, having to play four tough away games and having to host Wits and SuperSport. If Bucs win seven of their eight matches (2.62 points per game) and lose just one match, they will hit the 60 point mark.

Chiefs would need just 13 points from nine games to get to 61 points, around 1.44 points per game, and that looks very achievable. Therefore, it seems a long shot that Pirates could get close to top spot unless they win all eight of their remaining games and hope many results go in their favour elsewhere.