Johannesburg – Roger de Star. I saw this vomit-inducing, tabloid headline of a pun on Twitter just after Orlando Pirates had made it into the African Champions League final on Saturday evening. Sporting success and failure are so often the breeding ground for horrific plays on the English language. The one that sticks in my mind was when Great Britain sprinter Dwayne Chambers’ career was temporarily lost to drugs. ‘Down the Dwayne’ it went. Ouch.
Perhaps a disgraced Chambers deserved such a cringe-worthy literary mauling. De Sa, there can be no doubt, merits far better for getting the Buccaneers within two games of having another sparkly night sky-dweller stitched on the black and white jersey.
The Buccaneers coach has somehow guided his side through a forest of thorns that took in TP Mazembe, Al Ahly, Zamalek and Esperance to a chance to repeat the glory of 1995.
Now, to lift the trophy, there is the tiny matter of taking down the mighty Al Ahly once more.
Still, the Buccaneers have every reason to feel positive about their chances. In the group stages, they hammered Ahly 3-0 in El Gouna, and then drew 0-0 with them in Orlando, ensuring their place in the last four.
This is decent time to play Al Ahly. The political unrest in Egypt has meant that the Egyptian domestic season has been left unfinished for the past two years, and they have been forced to play their Champions League games behind closed doors, or in front of a severely restricted amount of fans, and outside of fortress Cairo.
Ahly somehow overcame the events of last year, which included the horrific Port Said tragedy, in which 79 Ahly supporters were killed at a league match, to go on and beat Esperance and lift their seventh Champions League title. Just getting to the final again constitutes a miracle.
Then again, if in far less emotive circumstances, Pirates also have reason to believe a second star is written in the stars. Against TP Mazembe in the final qualifying round in Lubumbashi, Pirates survived the sending off of their captain, and two penalties, saved by Senzo Meyiwa, to somehow make the group stages.
Since then, the Buccaneers have won just two of eight Champions League games, and none of their last five, but still they are in the final. In their final group game, their draw with Ahly was only good enough because another Cairo giant, Zamalek, beat AC Leopards.
Pirates were excellent in Tunis on Saturday night, but there is no doubt Lady Luck has also played her part. If she is smiling on them again in the next few weeks, combined with plenty of heart and skill, that ‘Roger de Star’ headline could be come a terrifying reality.