Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has one big dream – besides winning the CAF Champions League – he wants to fulfil during this fairy tale period the Buccaneers are having.
Meyiwa would love to swop jerseys with Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and his not too far from that realising that dream. All the the Buccaneers need to do is to overcome Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League final to qualify for the Fifa Club World Cup that will feature the reigning Uefa Champions League champions Bayern. Pirates would at least have to reach the semis to have a shot at playing against the German champions.
“I want to meet that goalkeeper Neuer,” an excited Meyiwa said after the Buccaneers returned from their glorious trip to Tunisia which saw them record a 1-1 draw with Esperance to qualify for the Champions League final. “I want to swop jerseys with him. That’s all I want.”
He still can’t believe Pirates have made the final.
“I had to pinch myself a lot of times. This is a big thing for me and my teammates. We just have to keep going until we get many stars,” the Bafana Bafana shot stopper said.
Meyiwa admitted it was difficult to play with the green lasers that were flashed in his face by the Esperance supporters. But he kept his cool, even though there were some nervous moments, which he says were not because of the lasers but because of the pitch and the swerve of the ball.
“It’s very difficult hey. During set pieces the laser was in my face. You know when they put something in your eyes, you can’t see properly, but I managed to deal with it. I didn’t look at them. I was just focused on the ball,” Meyiwa said.
“What did give me a bit of a problem was the pitch and the ball. The balls they make these days aren’t easy for goalkeeper. And there was a time when the ball bounced in front of me, but I managed to tip it over the bar.”
Pirates have not had a capacity crowd at Orlando Stadium throughout their amazing Champions League campaign, but Meyiwa is confident the Buccaneers faithful will come out in their numbers to support the club in the final in November. Pirates host the first leg and will then travel to Egypt where they hope they will be able to lift the Champions League trophy for the second time in their history.
“It’s now motivating for us players when we are playing away from home and we see a big crowd. We are motivated to play good football. We are comfortable and we can play. I believe our fans will come this time and it will be the way it is when we visit other countries,” a confident Meyiwa said.
Goalscorer Rooi Mahamutsa said scoring first against the two-time African champions Esperance was very important for the Buccaneers.
“ We wanted an early goal so that we can proceed to the final. If they scored first, it was going to be difficult. We scored first and we created more opportunities.
“It’s not like I’m a hero. It’s a team effort. They are busy encouraging me to get forward and score,” said Mahamutsa.
The defender said the Buccaneers would have to talk about improving on their finishing are missing numerous opportunities against Esperance.
“We did not get a chance to talk about that because we were so excited after the match. But we will sit down and talk so we can rectify our mistakes.”