Johannesburg – As his own team prepare to meet Al-Ahly in the final of the Caf Champions League, Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa believes the victorious Pirates team of 1995 did not receive enough credit for winning the African title.
“To be totally honest, I don’t think it was seen as being as great as it should have been,” De Sa said ahead of Saturday’s first-leg clash at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
“It was a phenomenon achievement… probably bigger than Bafana Bafana winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.
“Going away like that, and winning those competitions, is a lot more difficult than hosting a competition and winning it.
“I didn’t think those players and that team got enough credit at the time.”
Pirates lifted the then-named African Cup of Champions Clubs title in ’95, beating ASEC Abidjan of the Ivory Coast 3-2 in a two-legged final, becoming the first, and only, South African club to win the trophy.
Having been held to a 2-2 draw in Soweto, the Buccaneers travelled to Abidjan for the second leg and snatched a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a now historic strike from Jerry Sikhosana, winning the continent’s premier club competition.
“My very vivid memory of 1995 is Jerry Sikhosana scoring the goal. I was mates with a lot of the players that were in that team at the time,” De Sa said of the famous victory.
“I remember the team going to play the game with very little hope of turning the result around and they did.”
De Sa, who had played alongside several of that Pirates squad, admitted Saturday’s task would be slightly tougher, but was full of praise for the team which earned South Africa a place in the history books.
“It’s a different competition now. Obviously there are a lot more games,” the former Moroka Swallows and Bafana goalkeeper said.
“That team played eight games, we have to play 16. There’s a lot more to it.
“Nevertheless, it was a phenomenal achievement at the time.” – Sapa