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Deon Hotto eyes second major title with Orlando Pirates

FILE - Orlando Pirates’ Deon Hotto in action. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

FILE - Orlando Pirates’ Deon Hotto in action. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published May 18, 2022

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Johannesburg — Deon Hotto might be a match away from his second trophy in as many seasons at Orlando Pirates, but he’s determined to play the game and not the occasion in Uyo.

After the sale of the historic Bidvest Wits three seasons ago, Hotto joined Pirates last campaign. He was an instant fit, helping the team to the MTN8 crown and top three finish, while he bagged the club’s Player of the Season award.

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In the midst of Pirates poor outing in domestic football this term where they’ve endured a barren run, Hotto and Co. have been on rampant mode in Africa as they are set to wrestle with RS Berkane for the CAF Confederation Cup trophy.

Hotto says he’s looking forward to winning his second major with the Sea Robbers, especially after losing out on all the domestic trophies this season.

“When I joined Pirates, the aim was to come here and win silverware for the team,” he said before Pirates flew out to Nigeria on Wednesday for the Friday’s final at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

“Last season, we won the MTN8 and this year everything is gone, the league, MTN8 and Nedbank Cup, and what’s left now is the Confederation Cup on Friday. So, we have to go all out.”

With the match set to have a huge attraction, given its hype after the Champions League, the players, and all those who’ll take part in it, are bound to have a bag of mixed emotions come match-day.

However, Hotto, who’s been one of Pirates’ go-to-players as far as creating goals in the tournament after racking up five assists in 11 matches, says he won’t put himself under unnecessary pressure.

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“No, no, there’s no pressure, I am comfortable,” he said. “As a midfielder, my mandate is to assist and score goals for the club. always. Help the team in defence and attack.

“So, there won’t be any difference on Friday night. I’ll go all out with my teammates and play the game to the best of my best of abilities.”

Albeit reaching this stage of the tournament, Pirates are posed to wear the underdogs caps in Uyo against the 2020 champions from Morocco.

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But in the midst of Berkane’s outing in the competition in the last three seasons, and being coached by the astute Florent Ibenge, Hotto has drawn some confidence from their outing last term.

“Last season, we went out in the quarter-final against a North African team, Raja Casablanca (who went on to win it),” Hotto said. “But we’ve learnt a lot and we are experienced - that’s why we are in the final now.

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“We’ll definitely face a team that is quite good, technically. They also have a very good coach (Ibenge) who was at TP Mazembe and he’s now with them. And, ja, we are ready for them.”

Hotto’s teammate Richard Ofori echoed that people do not remember the other finalists, but the winners in such competitions. And that’s why they should go all out in Uyo, which will see the return of defender Olisa Ndah.

The 1995 African Kings are therefore hoping to outgrow the memories of 2015 where they lost in the final and make their own history by winning the trophy for everyone that's associated with the club, including chairman Irvin Khoza.

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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