Pirates Have a Chance
By Mbali Mokoko
Orlando Pirates have a chance to avenge their 2013 2-0 CAF Champions League final loss at the hands of Al Ahly, when they take on the Egyptian giants in the second leg of the CAF Confederations Cup semi-finals this weekend. The Buccaneers take a slender 1-0 advantage to Suez after Thamsanqa Gabuza did what he’s been doing in throughout the cup competition. Gabuza scored the only goal during the first leg at the Orlando Stadium to take his overall tournament tally to four goals. Pirates will go into this clash brimming with confidence after keeping a clean sheet at home. Happy Jele who was suspended for the 1st leg, makes the trip to North Africa this time around.
But what will it take for the Buccaneers to get this one right and book their spot in the final? The Egyptian Giants are not at their best, having lost their 2 previous games. Good news for The Sea Robbers is that they could play in an empty stadium. Egyptian officials have advised that because of the tense security situation both Al Ahly and Zamalek should play their second leg semi-finals behind closed doors. But because this is not a CAF-imposed ban, The Knights could still choose to allow their fans to attend the match. But if they chose to take the advice of security officials then it means Pirates will play minus the fireworks, lasers and the sea of chanting, red fans, who sing and clap for ninety minutes.
To win the match, Pirates need to settle quickly. Even better, Ezimnyama nge nkani should hit Al Ahly with an early goal, which would force them to come out in search of an equaliser, leaving gaps at the back. Pirates can then capitalize on those holes in the Egyptian defence. A player like Kermit Erasmus will be key in that regard because he will keep the Al Ahly defence extremely busy. One thing for sure, Eric Tinklers’ man won’t have it easy. The Egyptians have a never-say-die attitude especially when they know they are the tournament’s defending champions.