Cape Town - It’s a big, big week for Orlando Pirates and, indeed for South African football in general, when the popular Soweto club prepares itself for the final of the prestigious African Champions League.
Pirates take on Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the first leg of the final in Orlando on Saturday, with the second leg scheduled for Egypt the following weekend.
The Johannesburg club is the only PSL side to have previously won this continental inter-club competition, when they did so in 1995.
Their opponents, Al-Ahly, however, have a proud record in the Champions League, having won it on seven previous occasions. The Egyptians are also the current defending champions.
Pirates know they are in for a tough test, but feel they are up for it.
Good news from the camp is that influential winger Sifiso Myeni has been declared fit and will be available for selection.
Myeni was injured in the weekend’s 1-1 Soweto derby draw against Kaizer Chiefs, but coach Roger de Sa said the player was fine and would be ready for the Champions League battle.
“It was nothing serious, just a knock,” said De Sa. “As for the final, we are ready... It has been a great journey and here we are, another battle, another tough game.
“The players have been outstanding and we are proud of what they have achieved.”
One of the leading lights in Pirates’ African campaign has been combative central midfielder Oupa Manyisa, pictured left. He emphasised that the squad’s fantastic spirit and unity would be key to victory.
“In this competition, especially when away from home, the only person that you can rely on is your teammate,” Manyisa told kickoff.com. “So we have become a united family, we are very close to each other and always willing to fight for one another and respect each other.
“We have all had a common goal in this competition, which is to fight and grind out results. It has really made us stronger.
“We really want to win this trophy and being in the final means we can do it,” he added.