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Five big things from SA football over the weekend

Orlando Pirates players celebrate during the Caf Confederation Cup semi-final against Al Ahly Tripoli at Orlando Stadium on the 15 May 2022. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates players celebrate during the Caf Confederation Cup semi-final against Al Ahly Tripoli at Orlando Stadium on the 15 May 2022. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published May 16, 2022

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Johannesburg - The DStv Premiership campaign reached the penultimate round of the season this past weekend, while the GladAfrica Championship and DStv Diski Challenge crowned new champions on the last day of their respective campaigns.

Below, IOL Sport football writer Mihlali Baleka looks at five takeaways from the world of football from the past weekend.

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Pirates secure passage to the Confed Cup final

After reaching their last continental final via the CAF Confederation Cup in 2015, Pirates will return to the same event on Friday after seeing off a plucky Al Ahli Tripoli side 2-1 on aggregate over the two-legged semi-final.

The Bucs will face RS Berkane in the final at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria after they beat TP Mazembe 4-2 on aggregate in the other semi-final.

ALSO READ: Egyptian football legend Mohamed Aboutrika calls on Al Ahly to withdraw from CAF Champions League final

Albeit enduring a rollercoaster outing in domestic football, Pirates have been in rampant mood in Africa. So much so that winning the first leg of semi-final 2-0 in Benghazi, Libya, proved to be a masterstroke.

They lost at home 1-0 to Tripoli on Sunday in the return leg, but the goals from Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele saw them reach the continental final where they still have a chance of salvaging their first silverware of the season.

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Mosimane and Tau in the Champions League final

Pitso Mosimane engraved his name in the history books of African football after reaching the final of the CAF Champions League for a third successive time with Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

However, what made this season’s journey sweeter for Mosimane is that he achieved it with a familiar protégé Percy Tau who joined Al Ahly this season, the pair also having worked together in their first continental triumph in 2016 at Mamelodi Sundowns.

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The Red Devils will face North African rivals Wydad Casablanca “in a supposedly neutral venue”, which happens to be the Moroccan’s home ground, at the Stade Mohamed V on Monday, May 30.

With a win there, Al Ahly would claim their third successive crown during Mosimane’s tenure.

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Fight for survival goes down to the wire

As many as four teams, Baroka, Swallows, TS Galaxy and Maritzburg United, could still be automatically relegated on the last day of the season, although one of the four teams could save their elite status via the play-offs.

After the penultimate round of the league season, the bottom-place dwellers Baroka, who bagged a famous win over SuperSport United, were separated by three points from the 13th-placed Maritzburg who have a game in hand.

Richards Bay crowned GladAfrica Championship champions

Richards Bay duly earned promotion to the top-flight of South African football on Sunday after being crowned the best team in the second-tier division from the last campaign.

The Rich Natal Boys won the league with a two-point difference as they bagged 54 points from their 30 matches, while runners-up University of Pretoria, who’ll be joined by Cape Town All Stars in the promotion play-offs, bagged 52.

Richard Bay will be a record fifth side from KwaZulu Natal to campaign in the top-flight next season as they’ll join AmaZulu, Royal AM, Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United.

Stellenbosch FC crowned Diski Challenge champions

Stellenbosch were crowned the best reserve team in the land on Saturday afternoon after winning the DStv Diski Challenge for the first time in their existence.

Stellenbosch, as a club, have surpassed expectations this season. While the reserve team were crowned the junior champions, the seniors have been so good that they can still qualify for continental football next season.

Credit should go to the seamless cohesion between the development and senior team structures. Senior team coach Steve Barker is a fearless steward that has integrated young players into the senior team.

@Mihlalibaleka

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