Bucs coach stays confident before CAF match
Roger De Sa might be deprived of his first-choice defenders but the Orlando Pirates coach is optimistic about doing well against AC Léopards.
The Bucs take on their Congolese opponents in the CAF Champions League game at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night in a game De Sa has dubbed a “must-win”.
He said it was important to kick-start their group stage campaign with a victory, especially as they would be playing at home.
However, Pirates will be without captain Lucky Lekgwathi and Patrick Phungwayo, both of whom are suspended; as well as Siyabonga Sangweni, who has not yet fully recovered from the knee injury that has sidelined him since March.
The coach said Sangweni had not yet joined his team-mates and was training on the sidelines.
De Sa will welcome Thabo Matlaba back after his recovery from a knee injury. Also available is another central defender, Rooi Mahamutsa.
“We are still assessing few players from the continent and we will make the call soon because we don’t want to just sign for the sake of signing.”
De Sa said for Pirates to book a place in the semifinal of the tournament they needed to win all their home matches.
Pirates’ next two games after the Léopards encounter will be away to Egyptian sides Al Ahly and Zamalek.
“With the situation in Egypt as it is now, we don’t know what will happen, hence winning at home is a must,” said De Sa.
He said he had done research into their Saturday foes, adding they were a team that likes playing the ball around.
Although De Sa said they did not look like a dangerous side, he reckoned that any team that qualifies for the group stages of the Champions League deserves respect.
“They play like us, putting the ball on the ground, and it should be an open game.
“We will be ready for them.”
De Sa said his team had been playing friendly matches to whip players into shape.
“We had to speed up our programme because of the recess but I think we have covered a lot of ground.
“They will come here fit because they have been playing regularly.”
Pirates will play Lesotho’s Matlama in a King Letsie III 50th birthday celebration match this afternoon.
De Sa said the game would give his team a taste of what to expect against Léopards.
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