Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates striker Lennox Bacela is hoping his “fairy tale” with the Buccaneers will continue when they take on Zamalek in their third Caf Champions League group match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (8.15pm).
Bacela opened his Bucs account with a brace last weekend against SuperSport United in the MTN8 to warm up for the Egyptian giants. And, after that display, the former Bloemfontein Celtic man is hopeful the goals will flow. They’ll certainly need to as Pirates seek their first victory at home in the group stages on Saturday.
“To some up it up, my time at Pirates so far has been a fairy tale. As a young boy growing up you dream of such moments, to score for a big club and play in big competitions like the Champions League.
“And now that I’m playing in this competition, I’m hoping my teammates and I can do the job. It was important to get that first goal and get my confidence back.
“I felt I needed to do it for myself. The good thing is that my teammates always believed in me. What made those goals more special is that we won the game (4-3 on penalties).”
Group A leaders Pirates will need Bacela to be on top of his game, with their options pretty thin upfront.
Big man Collins Mbesuma is ruled out after limping off against SuperSport, new signing Kermit Erasmus is cup-tied, Thulasizwe Mbuyane is working his way back to full fitness and Ndumiso Mabena is not the striker you can rely on for goals. So Bacela is likely to start the clash and, after last week’s display, expectations will certainly be high.
The 30 year old says he is ready to take on the responsibility of scoring the goals.
“When you get that one goal, you start to believe that you can score in every game. I’m grateful that I scored, so now I will be looking for more goals.
“It doesn’t matter if I start the game or come on for the last five minutes. If I get a chance I will give my all to get a goal. I believe I can score because of the quality I have around me. My teammates are always creating chances,” he said.
Pirates failed to win their first group stage home game, playing to a goalless draw against Congolese outfit AC Leopards.
But a commanding 3-0 away victory over Al Ahly put them on top of the standings with four points, and it’s where they want to be by the end of the weekend.
“It’s important to win at home. Ten points guarantees our passage to the semifinals. If we win tomorrow, we move to seven, then we need just three points in our last three matches to reach our target.
“I see our players pushing so hard so hard at training. Everyone has that winning mentality. I would not want to spend two years here and not win anything.”
A big blow for Pirates is that in-form midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo will not be available for the clash after picking up an injury when he scored the opener against Al Ahly a couple of weeks ago.