Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK
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Augustine Mulenga has never been one to mince his words and the striker says Orlando Pirates are favourites to win the 2018-19 premiership.

Asked if Pirates are favourites he said: "Ja‚ I can say that. Because last season we ended second on the log, we were close to winning the title.

"This season we just have to start from where we left off last season, and go."

Mulenga’s promising form after signing from Kitwe-based Nkana FC in January might be the reason hopes of ending a trophy drought are up.

Pirates’ last silverware was the 2014 Nedbank Cup.

Mulenga‚ Justin Shonga‚ Luvuyo Memela and a host of talent, including Thabo Qalinge‚ Thembinkosi Lorch‚ Thabiso Kutumela and new signings Vincent Pule and Kudakwashe Mahachi‚ could make for a fearsome frontline‚ with potential to wreak havoc in a title chase.

Mulenga, the winner of Pirates’ goal of 2017-18 for a missile against Bloemfontein Celtic, said it was important that the players clicked.

"Football sometimes speaks two languages. Sometimes you can have good players but if they are not playing according to their names‚ there is nothing that you are going to get‚" he said.

"We have a good striking force. We just have to encourage each other‚ push each other."

"There is a lot of competition up front this season. Everyone has to push to have a place to play. If you are lazy, the coach won’t play you."

Pirates begin their season against Highlands Park on Saturday (kick-off: 8.15pm).

Kaizer Chiefs new coach Giovanni Solinas finally received his work permit on Tuesday‚ meaning the 50-year-old Italian will take his place on the bench in Amakhosi’s season opener against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele played down the impact Solinas’s late arrival – three weeks into the preseason – might have on Amakhosi’s premiership prospects.

"It’s difficult. Change is not easy‚ especially at the beginning. But we are adapting. We are doing everything in our power. We’re trying to work with him to say: ‘OK‚ this can be done‚ this can’t be done’.

"He’s a very aggressive coach. He wants perfection."

Solinas’s late arrival means he will have had three weeks to work with his squad and implement his style.

Mphahlele said he hopes that setback can be balanced out by the hunger of Chiefs players to make up for their past three trophyless seasons – a barren spell that cost Steve Komphela his job in April.

TimesLIVE