JOHANNESBURG – Their opponents’ pedigree might suggest it could very well be an easy day at the office tonight for Orlando Pirates when they make their long awaited return to the CAF Champions League, but captain Happy Jele says it’s important to build their momentum right from the start.
With a name like Light Stars and given that the Seychelles League hardly gets any rave reviews, the Buccaneers could well run riot at Orlando Stadium.
It’s a preliminary round match that marks the first step to the club’s lofty ambitions of equalling their 1995 triumph.
“When we play Light Stars it will be the start of a long and difficult journey,” Jele said this week.
“Personally, I was there when we reached the final in 2013 and I remember how close we came and how much we wanted to clinch the Champions League trophy, especially for our supporters. Now that we have another chance, it is key that we start things off on the right foot and build the momentum.”
Pirates will have to hit the ground running - after all, this is what they have been working towards since the arrival of Micho Sredojevic last season. It was the coach who said their priority was never to win the domestic title but to, at best, finish runners-up and qualify for the Champions League.
Beat Light Stars over two legs, negotiate their way past either Volcan Club (Comoros) or African Stars (Namibia) and the South Africa outfit are in the group stage of the continent’s premier club competition.
“From looking at the next four fixtures, we have a tough task ahead of us and as such it is key that we have our supporters there to help us through,” said Jele.
The Buccaneers have registered their big hitters for the Champions League and Sredojevic will have to become a master at rotating his players in both fixtures on the continent and at home.
There will be a quick turnaround to the Absa Premiership following this Champions League engagement when they host Maritzburg United on Saturday night to try to hold on to their lead at the top.@superjourno