Zim soccer players to determine outcome of SA’s Sundowns and Pirates match

Zim soccer players to determine outcome of SA’s Sundowns and Pirates match

IF recent form is anything to go by, either one of the two Zim strikers Tendai Ndoro (Pirates) or Khama Billiat (Sundowns) could provide a good bet for a potential matchwinner on Saturday night.

Billiat’s Brazilians will host Ndoro and his Orlando Pirates teammates in the headline fixture of the 2016 Nedbank Cup quarterfinals, the match set to take place at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday night, 20H15 kick off.

In terms of consistency over the last season, or two, the Sundowns man comes out trumps.

But Ndoro is enjoying what must surely be the best form of his career, the former Black Aces marksman red-hot right now with nine goals in his last eight matches, including braces in the Buccaneers’ previous two Nedbank Cup games: a 2-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs and 3-1 against Jomo Cosmos.

In total this season, Ndoro whose game time was limited until recent months, has played in 14 games (six of those as a substitute), scoring nine goals in all competitions. He has played 784 minutes, meaning his goals have come at an impressive rate of one every 87 minutes; a goal per game.

The target always seems bigger for a striker on form and full of confidence, and the 30-year-old still needs to prove over a longer period that he really is a marksman of the highest caliber. Right now though he is a man firing on all cylinders, showing the aggression and all-around technique needed to score goals at the top level.

Billiat, on the other hand, appears to be a player who is maturing, finally starting to deliver fully on the vast potential he showed at Ajax Cape Town and in his first season with the Brazilians, when too often he let himself down with poor finishing.

Not an out-an-out striker, Billiat is probably the closest thing South African football has to a Neymar. Not only is the 25-year-old amongst the fastest players in the country, but he has the skill and close control to carry the ball at terrifying pace, making him a threat every time he receives possession.

And not only he is finding the composure that he previously lacked in front of goal, but he has formed a deadly partnership with fellow forwards Leonardo Castro and Keagan Dolly.

Billiat’s strike rate is less impressive than Ndoro’s – his 10 goals in domestic action having arrived at a goal every 222 minutes. However, he has provided (and received) numerous assists for Dolly and Castro, the trio reveling in their partnership and seemingly having fun out on the pitch doing their business.

Add Hlompho Kekana to the mix, and Sundowns have an array of potential match winners. Pirates meanwhile have been leaning heavily on Ndoro during their recent revival of form. Midfielder Mpho Makola has seven goals in total this season, but has not been scoring of late. Apart from that, it’s been a poor return for Pirates’ attackers, no one with more than three goals.

It’s for this reason that if you were a betting person, Billiat and his happy band of goal-getting comrades would surely be where your money would lie. Even if the diminutive winger has an off day, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane knows that goals can come from elsewhere. The same is not necessarily the case for Bucs coach Eric Tinkler at the moment. – ANA.