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Orlando Pirates not going to Al Ahly ‘to make up numbers’ in Confederation Cup semi

Orlando Pirates co-coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates co-coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published May 7, 2022

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Durban - Orlando Pirates will be looking to put one foot in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup when they travel to Benghazi, Libya to play against Al Ahly Tripoli at the Martyrs of February Stadium.

Pirates have had an underwhelming season and winning the Confederation Cup this season will help them to give their fans some joy. They will also be eyeing their first continental success since 1996 and should they win the Confederation Cup, they will make history as the first club from South Africa to win Africa’s equivalent of the Europa League.

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While Al Ahly will not be an easy team to beat, especially in their home fixture, Pirates can certainly strongly fancy their chances of reaching the final. Al Ahly are not exactly giants of African football and their records in continental competitions make for mediocre reading.

Prior to reaching the semi-final of the tournament this season, their previous best run in the tournament was advancing to the Group Stage in 2016 though they did advance to the quarter-finals of the 2017 CAF Champions League.

With away goals still counting in African competition, a draw, especially if it is a scoring one or win for Pirates tomorrow will put them in a very strong position to win the tie ahead of the return leg at the Orlando Stadium next Sunday.

It must be noted that while Pirates claimed pole position in Group B during the Group Stage of the competition, Al Ahly’s Libyan rivals Al Ittihad was the one team that they struggled against. They were held to a goalless draw by Al-Ittihad in South Africa before losing the away leg 3-2.

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Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi insists that his team will be going all out to win the competition and avenge their 2015 Confederation Cup final defeat to Etoile du Sahel.

“Pirates have always been in African Championships. It helps that some of the players have been part of that history so we have experience,” said Ncikazi.

“We are in it to win it and are not in this competition to make up the numbers. My wish is that Pirates should get into the main tournament, the Champions League without saying the Confederation Cup is an easier one. Winning it will still be a big honour.”

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