With Orlando Pirates the only South African team left in continental competition, after advancing to the semis of the Caf Confed Cup while Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a shock exit from the Caf Champions League, co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has called on the country to get behind the Buccaneers.
Pirates beat Simba SC on Sunday night via a penalty shootout to seal their spot in the final four just a day before Downs suffered shock elimination at the hands of Angolan outfit Petro de Luanda on Saturday to leave Pirates as SA’s sole representative across the two Caf tournaments.
Post-game, the Pirates co-coach revealed his pride at representing the country on the continental stage.
“I see our progression as a good representation for our country [as] we’re the only [SA] team that’s surviving. Pirates must take the responsibility of representing our country.
“For me, it’s no longer about teams, it’s about us representing the country. I hope all South Africans will be Pirates supporters when we’re playing the next matches,” Ncikazi added.
Pirates will travel to Al Ahli Tripoli for first-leg fixture on 8 May, and host the return leg at Orlando Stadium on 15 May. Ncikazi appears to be banking on Pirates’ Caf pedigree to see them through.
“Pirates have always been in African championships. Roger de Sa went to the [Champions League] final [and lost to Al Ahly in 2013], Eric Tinkler went to the [Confed Cup] final [and lost to Etoile du Sahel] and the team won the cup (Caf Champions Cup, before restyling to Champions League] in 1995.
“So, I don’t think there’s anything new. We’re in the competition to win it. We shouldn’t be here to make numbers … with the history, we should do it,” he concluded.
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