Rhulani Mokwena will hope it is third time lucky in his third match in charge of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Despite his team trailing after the first leg, Orlando Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena says the Buccaneers are “bullish” about emerging victorious against Green Eagles in the Caf Champions League this weekend.

Pirates lost the first leg of the preliminary-round tie 1-0 in Zambia last Saturday, and will take on the Eagles at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night (9pm kickoff).

It’s been a tough old last few weeks for Irvin Khoza’s team, following three defeats and a draw, as well as the controversial departure of previous head coach Milutin Sredojevic.

Mokwena was in charge for two of those games – a 1-0 MTN8 defeat to Highlands Park, and a 0-0 league stalemate with AmaZulu.

He will hope for better luck third time around, but know that Green Eagles won’t be easy-beats.

“We have to win this one. We have to overturn the 1-0 deficit we suffered away in Lusaka. It will be interesting to see what they go with, if it will still be the 4-4-2 formation,” the new coach told the Pirates website on Friday.

“Will they still keep Kasebe upfront with Musonda? Will they still go aggressively with the fullbacks?

“Either way, we will be adequately prepared for them. We will analyse the first leg and see where we went wrong, and what needs to be done to rectify our mistakes.

“They are coming to Orlando, it’s not an easy place to be, and the Ghost will be there in numbers to inspire our boys to pick up their performance and overturn the result.”

Of course, for a club like Pirates, being Champions League contenders should be a reality.

So, being knocked out in the preliminary round is unthinkable.

“We are very bullish about that. We know what the Champions League means to the club, to our supporters and the chairman, and we all know what we need to do in the second leg,” Mokwena said.

“We carry the responsibility and accept that the performance was not good enough in Zambia. We know that we have to make amends at Orlando, and we will because that is our home.

“It’s important that when they come here, they feel that they have come in for disappointment. It won’t be easy for them.”


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