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Orlando Pirates’ Mandla Ncikazi proud of his team ... but the job is not yet done

FILE - Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi during a press conference. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

FILE - Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi during a press conference. Photo: Thabang Lepule/BackpagePix

Published May 9, 2022

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Durban — Orlando Pirates Co-Coach Mandla Ncikazi has heeded a warning to any case of complacency towards his players as his side grabbed a valuable advantage in the first leg of their CAF Confederations Cup semi-final.

The Buccaneers put in a classic away performance at Libyan side Al Ahly Tripoli and have firmly put themselves in prime position to qualify for their second ever final in the competition through goals by Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele.

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"The game is not over, this is just half-time. We are only leading because they can go to South Africa and do the same to us. We will treat the game very seriously because we understand the dynamics of African football, an away goal is very important," he said.

"We will afford them the respect they deserve in the second leg but not to the extent that it alters the way we play and how much we want to impose ourselves on the game, we'll just prepare for a good team."

The Sea Robbers were expectedly denied the majority of the possession but looked alive at counter attacking time, registering a total of 19 attempts on goal, seven of those on target.

Ncikazi expressed immense pride in how his charges performed but also pointed to a few key elements in their finishing.

"I thought we should've scored more goals. We applied ourselves very well to a very good team. I'm just very proud of my team," he said.

"My boys came to the party and executed everything as we planned. I'm just being greedy because if we had gotten more goals we'd be more settled but I'm grateful for the two goals and hopefully we can get to the final by playing well at home."

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The Confederations Cup is the club's last hope for a trophy this season after being poorly bundled out in both the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup.

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Although with one of the better squads in the local game, the Johannesburg based club have not come close to the standards required to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns in the league.

Ncikazi's men are in a better position to perform well enough to close off the season on a high note right now, being able to field the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch, Deon Hotto and Goodman Mosele all at the same time.

@SmisoMsomi16

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