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If you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, you can lose - Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi

Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi was left disappointed after his side lost to RS Berkane in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup final at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on 20 May 2022. Picture: BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi was left disappointed after his side lost to RS Berkane in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup final at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on 20 May 2022. Picture: BackpagePix

Published May 21, 2022

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Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi feels that his side should have won their CAF Confederation Cup final clash against RSB Berkane at the Godswil Akpabio Stadium on Friday.

The match ended 1-1 before the Sea Robbers lost 5-4 on penalties.

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“We should not have lost this game and won it in normal time. This game is a story of our season. We dominated the game and created chances but could just not put the ball in the back of the net. The players fought very hard but it is what it is. Football can be difficult sometimes. If you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, you can lose,” said Ncikazi.

Pirates have struggled for consistency in recent years and winning the Confederation Cup would have been a good opportunity for Ncikazi’s side to end their season with pride after yet another frustrating season by their standards. Ncikazi admits that his side would have disappointed fans by their loss.

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“Honestly we disappointed our fans at home. We disappointed millions of South Africans and the Nigerian support that we had. We disappointed Malawians and people all over the world. It was a game for us to win. We wanted to dominate chances and we created them but did not take them. We wanted to play with the ball which we did. The opponents did not create more than three chances,” said Ncikazi.

The performances of South African sides in continental competitions over recent years certainly suggests that teams from the country are now among the best in Africa. However, Ncikazi believes that clubs in Africa still have a long way to go before they can be competitive with teams on the world stage.

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“There are good teams and players in Africa. What we lack is the infrastructure to be equated with Europeans. Being in Africa is not an advantage. We can win youth tournaments but not the World Cup. This suggests that something is going wrong in between. Covid has also impacted football. For me, until we can reach a level where we can add infrastructure at youth level, we will struggle to compete,” said Ncikazi.

Overall, Pirates were impressive in the Confederation Cup. They won Group B after winning four out of their six games before downing Simba SC and Al Ahly Tripoli in the knockout stages. If the result of the final reiterated something, it is that South African teams may stutter due to mental hurdles at the last phase of competitions.

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